By Jonathan Rest
FILA, wrestling’s governing body, is to present a new name and logo for the organisation to its congress in Tashkent later this year, where the first of a batch of commercial partners will be announced.
As the federation’s reform process continues, Nenad Lalovic, president of FILA, told Sportcal that the name change is next on the agenda.
FILA’s ruling bureau tasked TSE Consulting, the Lausanne-based sports management consultancy, earlier this year to come up with designs for a new logo and name.
It is expected to be ratified at a meeting between the bureau and TSE in Dubrovnik, Croatia on 14 June, and then will be put before the full congress in the Uzbekistan capital on 7 September, on the eve of this year's FILA Wrestling World Championships.
Lalovic said: “The new name and logo are ready, they have to be approved by the congress in September in Tashkent.”
The bureau is keen to get the name change enacted this year so that it can be used fully in the build-up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, with the next congress not due until those games.
Neither Lalovic nor TSE would divulge the new name, but the Serbian official said there was an acceptance within FILA that its abbreviation was not easily recognisable – it derives from wrestling’s French name, Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées – to those outside the sport.
A new name, it is hoped, will appeal to prospective sponsors as it will be more easily understood worldwide.
It is something that World Archery realised in 2011, when the federation rebranded from FITA.
Lalovic has recently returned from a marketing trip to Austria and Germany where he, along with FILA marketing manager Gordon Templeman, met with “various international companies.”
Lalovic told Sportcal there will be a “minimum four” commercial partners for the federation, with “some of the new partners announced first in Tashkent, then a second batch by the end of the year.”
Sports equipment manufacturers are being targeted primarily, he noted, as are brands that appeal to a “younger audience that will bring with it new fans to the sport.”
Lalovic became president of FILA almost 18 months a year ago after the International Olympic Committee’s executive board’s shock decision to recommend the sport for exclusion from the 2020 Olympics, resulting in the resignation of his predecessor Raphael Martinetti.
FILA was widely thought to have paid the penalty for a perception that its leadership of the sport was old-fashioned and out of touch. However, wrestling eventually regained its place on the programme at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September after Lalovic led a successful reform campaign, and since then the reforms have continued.
A fourth woman will be elected to the FILA Bureau, along with a female vice-president, making five vice-presidents in all, at September’s elections, which Lalovic believes will further resonate with potential sponsors.
He continued: “The reforms we have made, and are still making, have attracted interest from completely different areas. We have been approached by a few companies without knowing them before, so we can easily conclude that, yes, our rule changes and board changes are making a difference.”