Chris Buchanan has become the latest ISU Presidential candidate to unveil his manifesto ©Chris Buchanan

A reform of judging and a more open leadership structure are among key priorities in a new manifesto published by Britain's International Skating Union (ISU) Presidential contender, Chris Buchanan.

Buchanan, chairman of the ISU Synchronised Skating Technical Committee and finance director of the National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain, is locked in a four-horse all-European race for the sport's top job with France's Didier Gailhaguet, Hungary’s György Sallak and The Netherlands' Jan Dijkema.

His 10-page manifesto, entitled The Future Vision, first sets out nine "challenges we face" in the years ahead: "transparency, sustainability, accountability, public and IOC credibility, reputation challenges, accessibility, remaining relevant to youth audience, protecting and increasing revenue and embracing the digital challenge".

"There is no ‘magic potion’ to overcome the challenges we face," he writes.

"But with a clear management structure and transparent decision making processes, I believe we can drive a positive view of our sport for the public and national funding bodies, media and members.

"Working together we can build a positive reputation, grow global participation and build on our sport's magnificent legacy."

A "complete overhaul" of the ISU Judging System is one such idea in order to "re-engage with the public and athletes".

This must be more open and clear as well as easily understandable for the press and public.

"This will be done by collaboration with the Technical Committees and ISU member countries - not by the imposition from the centre that has been the style of operation we have seen for many years," Buchanan claims.

British contender Chris Buchanan has unveiled his manifesto to  improve the
British contender Chris Buchanan has unveiled his manifesto to improve the "unique" sport of skating ©Chris Buchanan

A leadership style based on consultation rather than the top down approach more prevalent under Ottavio Cinquanta, the Italian who is due to stand down next month after 22 years as President, is a key theme of the manifesto.

"I would be adopting a much more open and welcoming approach with our ISU members and their ideas for what can be done to promote our sport in their local region and within individual countries," Buchanan promises.

The Briton, who has spent over 30 years in the investment banking, commodities and financial services industries for a variety of leading banks and financial institutions, becomes the third contender to unveil a manifesto after Gailhaguet's Change or Be Changed and Dijkema's Innovation and Inspiration.

All three have made similar points about the need to reform the body.

The contest is already fascinatingly poised, however, ahead of an election at the ISU Congress in Dubrovnik from June 6 to 10.

French Ice Sports Federation President Gailhaguet's bid is considered highly controversial by many after he returned to the sport following a three-year ban for his involvement in a judging scandal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

But he has been the most vocal and aggressive so far, criticising ISU finances under the watch of development coordinator Sallak while also accusing Dijkema of an "empty programme" drafted in haste without thinking.

Sallak and Dijkema have both been far less vocal in public, but are thought to be lobbying hard behind the scenes.

Dubrovnik in Croatia is due to play host to the ISU Ordinary Congress next month ©ISU
Dubrovnik in Croatia is due to play host to the ISU Ordinary Congress next month ©ISU

Buchanan is generally considered an outsider but cannot be discounted, particularly given the success enjoyed by British sporting administrators in recent years as Brian Cookson, Sebastian Coe and Bill Beaumont have all been elected heads of the International Cycling Union, International Association of Athletics Federations and World Rugby respectively.

The ISU election is also becoming an intriguing battle between the disciplines with Gailhaguet, most associated with figure skating, bidding to end 36 years of rule by speed skating representatives.

Dijkema is ISU vice-president for speed skating while Sallak is most connected to short-track.

Buchanan is best associated with synchronised skating, having campaigned repeatedly for the discipline to be added to the Olympic programme.

But he was also a figure skating judge at Sochi 2014 and has attempted to court the speed skating community in his manifesto.

With the wealth of expertise that exists in our short track and speed skating communities, I am excited by the prospect of establishing a Strategic Development Commission for both disciplines," he proclaims.

"These Commissions will be charged with working together with the Technical Committees and Council members to formulate the strategic plans that will drive development of the many facets of speed and short track disciplines.

"I will ensure meaningful involvement of athletes, coaches and officials, as well as expertise in building realisable plans supported with strong budgetary and delivery management discipline."

His full manifesto can be read here.