By Duncan Mackay

FISA Extraordinary Congress Copenhagen 2013February 15 - World Rowing Federation's (FISA) Extraordinary Congress, which is only held once every four years, opened today in Copenhagen and will discuss if any changes are needed to the sport's statutes and rules. 

Among the proposals being discussed at this year's Congress, at the Hotel Scandic, which is being attended by several International Olympic Committee members, including Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik, FISA President Denis Oswald and vice-presidents Anita DeFrantz and John Coates, is making alternations to its statutes and rules of racing to better reflect the core values of the sport of rowing.

FISA has conducted a detailed strategic re-assessment exercise which looked at all aspects of the sport, its events, its marketing and governance. 

To achieve more universality, FISA is considering a proposal to ensure that World Rowing regattas are held outside Europe every four years - not only at the senior level, but also at the under-23 and junior levels.

Another key proposal could include doubling the racing distance for Paralympic athletes from 1,000 to 2,000 metres.

Other issues include adding an additional boat class, the LTA mixed double sculls, to offer further competition opportunities to nations that only have two athletes in this classification category and to change the name of "adaptive rowing" to "Para-rowing" which is deemed to better communicate this discipline of the sport.

FISA also wants to reinforce its statutes and rules to address potential issues including rules to prevent attempts to manipulate competitions, to interfere in the leadership of national federations and to unduly influence the World Rowing Federation.

Prince Frederick of Denmark at FISA eventDelegates had the opportunity to meet Denmark's Olympic rowers, seen here posing with Crown Prince Frederik, among the IOC members attending the Extraordinary Congress

The FISA Council is recommending the creation of policies that will ensure that only those who are truly involved in the sport of rowing can reach positions to make decisions about rowing at all levels.

A radical proposal designed protect the health of its athletes would pre-competition health screenings to reduce the risk of sudden cardiovascular death.

They also recommend eliminating the averaging of weight in lightweight rowing to discourage unhealthy and potentially dangerous sudden weight loss practices.

A vote is scheduled for Sunday (February 17) on any changes put forward.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]