Urs Lehmann will stand as a candidate for the FIS Presidency ©Swiss Ski

Swiss Ski Association President Urs Lehmann has been put forward as a candidate for the International Ski Federation (FIS) Presidency.

Swiss Ski announced their backing for Lehmann as the organisation aims to ensure the FIS remains led by a Swiss official.

The past two FIS Presidents have been from Switzerland, with Marc Hodler and Gian-Franco Kasper both enjoying long periods in office.

Holder served from 1951 to 1998, with Kasper having led the organisation for the past 22 years before announcing his intention to stand down this year.

"It is a great honour and an obligation for me to run for Gian Franco Kasper's successor," said Lehmann.

"It is important that we maintain continuity at FIS as our international umbrella organisation, but also introduce new visions and ideas.

"I feel ready for this challenging task."

Lehmann has led the national federation since 2008, after becoming a member of the organisation's Board two years earlier.

Swiss Ski said that under Lehmann, who was the downhill skiing world champion in 1993, the organisation has experienced its most successful era since the end of the 1980s.

The organisation hosted the World Alpine Skiing Championships in St. Moritz during 2017, where they won the Nations Cup for the first time in over 30 years.

Swiss Ski also highlighted 12 medals in snowboard and freestyle skiing competitions at the last two major events.

Lehmann is also claimed to have overseen continuous development of the association, with Swiss Ski saying that their turnover has doubled during his tenure.

Media and advertising rights relating to the World Cup events were re-marketed, along with new concepts in medical care, research and development.

"We are very pleased that Urs Lehmann has decided to run for the presidency of the FIS – knowing that, of course, a great deal of specialist knowledge would be lost within Swiss Ski," said Bernhard Aregger, Swiss Ski chief executive.

"We are convinced that Urs Lehmann, with his experience as a former top athlete, long-time chief executive of the Similasan Group and as President, is predestined for the office of FIS President as one of the most important and largest national ski associations."

Swiss Ski are hoping to keep the FIS Presidency in Swiss hands following the departure of Gian-Franco Kasper ©Getty Images
Swiss Ski are hoping to keep the FIS Presidency in Swiss hands following the departure of Gian-Franco Kasper ©Getty Images

Swiss Ski added that should Lehmann be elected as FIS President, he would be succeeded as head of the national association by vice-president Peter Barandun.

Lehmann is the second confirmed candidate for the FIS Presidential election, along with Sweden's Johan Eliasch, the chairman and chief executive of sportswear company Head.

Eliasch has been nominated for the Presidency by GB Snowsport.

It is unclear when the election will take place, following the postponement of the FIS Congress due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Congress was due to take place at Royal Cliff in Thailand from May 17 to 23.

The FIS are hopeful of holding it in the autumn of 2020.

The new deadline for applications for Presidential and Council candidates will be 30 days before the re-scheduled elections.

Kasper, who announced his intention to stand down at the governing body's Congress in November 2019, will remain in charge of the organisation until the election.

The 75-year-old, who is an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a former member of its Executive Board, has been involved with the FIS for more than 40 years after the Swiss official became the organisation's secretary general in 1975.