A reduction in the size of competition loops has been proposed on environmental grounds ©Getty Images

A proposal to use a loop shorter than five kilometres for interval start competitions next season has been accepted on environmental grounds by the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) Cross-Country Committee at its autumn meeting.

The German Ski Federation made the suggestion in light of rising energy costs.

A shorter loop than 5km can be used for interval-start competitions at all upcoming FIS Cross-Country World Cup events.

While all decisions are subject to approval by the FIS Council, the Cross-Country Committee also proposed that, as of the 2022-2023 season, the top 20 athletes in the overall men's and women's World Cup standings will benefit from prize money increased by 10 per cent.

The FIS Council in June approved a general 10 per cent prize money increase for athletes in all FIS World Cup competitions next season, and the FIS Cross-Country Committee's World Cup Sub-Committee has settled on this form of distribution, subject to FIS Council approval.

This will result in a total of CHF 211,750 (£188,850/€216,750/$215,900) to be split among the rankings according to the chart stated in the World Cup rules.

Changes to team sprint qualification are planned next season  ©Getty Images
Changes to team sprint qualification are planned next season ©Getty Images

The Tour de Ski Overall prize money will also rise to a total of CHF 326,000 (£291,000/€333,750/$332,400) per gender to be split between the top 20.

In addition, the prize money for the under-23 winner at the end of the season will rise to CHF 6,000 (£5,350/€6,450/$6,120).

Other proposals concerned the format of the team sprint, which from the upcoming season will feature the sprint semi-final becoming an individual qualification, with both of the team's athletes skiing the course individually and their times being added to form the qualifying ranking.

The top 15 teams will then continue to the finals.

The World Cup Sub-Committee rejected the proposal to introduce an elimination element in the team sprint.