“The pandemic has brought stakeholders closer together” - FIM Oceania President Glen Williams.
2020 has been a special year for everyone. In the CONU Presidents’ update series, the leaders of the FIM’s Continental Unions describe the main challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and what people could learn from these extraordinary times.
FIM Oceania President Glen Williams is about to hand over the reigns to his successor but the final year as the leader of the Oceania hasn’t allowed him to take it easy.
“Even though the Oceania region has fared relatively “well” under the threat of Covid-19, I think it is fair to say that 2020 has been quite a challenge. FIM Oceania (like many others) has had to re-asses its goals and move time-lines for activities to align with the evolution of the pandemic”, Mr Williams says.
“Our individual federations have had to directly endure an unprecedented and unpredictable sporting environment and they have had to mould their skills and their day-to-day activities to meet this new working environment. This has not been easy and it has come at a cost to some.”
In Oceania, riders that have traditionally attended events that involve long-distance travel or Trans-Tasman travel between Australia and New Zealand have been most affected.
“Some key events have been “re-scheduled” and some unfortunately have had to be cancelled. It has been pleasing though to see the support and understanding of the situation by federations, promotors, clubs and riders in these unusual times. We are all working with a positive attitude and are planning with the hope to “return to business as usual” as soon as possible.”
According to Mr Williams in the end the challenging year also made people learn new things.
“The stakeholders within our sport and also within the recreational sector of motorcycling have had to accept the situation and learn new ways of working within a restricted framework. The creation of calendars for instance has had to include provision for alternatives, funding and grants have had to also remain flexible. Keeping an open mind for what might have been “traditional venues” for events has also been something that we have all had to learn and accept. “
Mr Williams also thinks that the hard times have brought people more together.
“Some positives have been the increased use of technology for meetings (Zoom for instance) which has given the ability to meet and communicate much more frequently if only on an electronic face-to-face basis. The ability to meet more regularly means that we have been able to pass on knowledge rapidly to better combat the daily challenges that the pandemic presents. The much reduced cost for these meetings was also a side benefit. In some respects the pandemic has also brought stakeholders closer together to fight a common enemy; this helps to ensure that our sport remains as healthy as possible and financially secure for the future. Other learnings will be that when we are “free of Covid” we may appreciate more what we have and value that freedom of a new “normal”.
FIM Oceania is especially grateful for their dedicated volunteers who have passionately worked also during this demanding year.
“At all levels our volunteers are of course the backbone of our sport. The volunteers attending events during the 2020 year have had to absorb an additional layer of protocols. FIM Oceania and our member federations would like to extend a huge thanks to the many volunteers that gave their time and allowed our great sport to continue through these testing times.”
FIM Oceania President’s term always lasts four years and the term is rotated between Australia and New Zealand. On 1 December Mr Williams will give the floor to the new President Mr Peter Doyle.
“My four year term is coming to an end, and I would like to say that I feel very lucky to have been able to work with so many good people at all levels. I leave the FIM Oceania board in very good hands with experienced and skilled individuals that have a vision to continue the work that FIM Oceania has achieved thus far and also to navigate it through what is hopefully the tail-end of this pandemic. The President elect, Mr Peter Doyle (CEO Motorcycling Australia), will be a valuable asset to motorcycling in our region, FIM Oceania and the FIM.”
“I would like to thank my fellow FIM Oceania board members and our member federations for the full support that they have provided to me during my term. It has both been humbling and also made my role as FIMO president enjoyable and rewarding. My thanks also go out to the members of the FIM board, The FIM President and FIM staff who have been invaluable for their positive and constructive guidance throughout my term and through the Covid-19 period.”