Josef Fendt will step down as FIL President in June ©Getty Images

Josef Fendt has announced he will stand down as President of the International Luge Federation (FIL) after 26 years in June, with Latvia’s Einars Fogelis poised to succeed him.

Fendt made the announcement ahead of the final event of the FIL Luge World Cup season in Königssee.

The German official is only the second President of the FIL, which was founded in 1957.

The organisation was led by Bert Isatitsch until his death in February 1994, with Fendt taking over on a temporary basis before being elected permanently on June 25 in 1994 at the governing body’s congress in Rome.

Fendt has claimed the decision to stand down is due to his desire to have more time for his private life.

"I will make my office available at the FIL Congress in Berchtesgaden in June 2020,” Fendt said.

"I am handing over a well-established world association with orderly finances and clear structures.”

Fendt has requested current FIL secretary general Fogelis succeeds him as President.

Fogelis became FIL secretary general back in 2018, having previously been the FIL’s vice-president for technical affairs.

Josef Fendt has led the FIL for 26 years ©Getty Images
Josef Fendt has led the FIL for 26 years ©Getty Images

He also serves as a vice-president of the Latvian Olympic Committee and President of the Latvian Council of Sports Federations.

The FIL Congress will take place on June 15 and 16 in Berchtesgaden in Germany, where the Presidential election will take place.

The FIL claims the organisation has become modernised under Fendt, who was a silver medallist in the men’s singles event at the Innsbruck 1976 Winter Olympics.

Under Fendt’s Presidency the FIL introduced the team relay event to the Winter Olympic programme, along with making helmets mandatory.

The FIL also claims smaller National Federations have been supported under Fendt’s leadership, with ideas such as a free ticket system and development funding.

As well as his Olympic silver medal, Fendt secured gold in the men's singles at the 1970 and 1974 World Championships, both of which were held in Königssee.

Fendt’s 25th anniversary as President was marked last year.

The German office has admitted the "darkest hour" of his term in office was the fatal accident involving Georgia’s Nodar Kumaritashvili on the opening day of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The FIL faced criticism from athletes last week in Winterberg, with several teams having boycotted competition over safety concerns.

He is the second longest-serving winter International Federation President behind International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) head René Fasel, who has served in his position since the IIHF's 1994 Congress in Venice at the beginning of June.

Fendt’s departure continues the shift in leadership of winter sport federations, with Fasel due to stand down in September.

A new President will be chose at the FIL Congress in June ©Getty Images
A new President will be chose at the FIL Congress in June ©Getty Images

Switzerland’s Gian-Franco Kasper will also end his reign as International Ski Federation President in May.

Kasper first took office in 1998.

Britain’s Kate Caithness currently serves as World Curling Federation President, while Italy’s Ivo Ferriani holds the same position at the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation.

The Netherlands’ Jan Dijkema was re-elected International Skating Union President in 2018, having served an initial two-year term.

He replaced Italy’s Ottavio Cinquanta, who relinquished his position after a 22-year spell.

The International Biathlon Union is led by Sweden’s Olle Dahlin.

Dahlin is the shortest-serving winter sport President, having been elected in 2018.