By Daniel Etchells in the Montafon Valley in Vorarlberg

Philipp Groborsch addresses the National Olympic Committees at the Festival's medals plaza in Schruns, Austria ©ITGPhilipp Groborsch, chief executive of the 2015 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), claims his familiarity with the capabilities of the Organising Committee has played a crucial part in the successful preparation of the Festival here and in Liechtenstein.

Speaking after the conclusion of the seminar of the technical delegates and Chefs de Mission for the 2015 Winter EYOF, Groborsch told insidethegames he already knew 50 per cent of the Organising Committee from his time as head of operations and technology for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck.  

The Austrian was appointed chief executive of the Festival in March and he feels the mutual understanding he shares with the members of the committee has been a key factor behind the smooth-running of the project thus far.

"I'm really proud to be part of this team," he said. 

"I know what they can do.

"I don't have to push them very hard because it's a really great and fantastic team and they know what they're doing.

"In a small organisation, it's all about trust.

"If you really trust the guy next to you, and you know exactly what the guy is thinking, you can really move forward fast."

The newly-constructed Montafon Nordic will be one of the main legacies of the 2015 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival in Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein ©ITGThe newly-constructed Montafon Nordic will be one of the main legacies of the 2015 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival in Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein ©ITG

Groborsch, the joint founder of SOLID, an event management and consulting firm, said the intended concept for the Festival was to renovate existing infrastructure, such as the ice hockey venue, Aktivpark Montafon, and add to it in order to create a legacy.

The newly-built Montafon Nordic, which will host ski jumping, is the most significant addition to the area, providing a state-of-the-art facility for training and competition.

Groborsch, who also oversaw Innsbruck's involvement in the 2008 UEFA European Championships, which were staged jointly between Austria and Switzerland, claimed he was keen to distinguish between necessities and luxuries on taking up the post of chief executive, to ensure the Festival was cost effective. 

"It's all about efficiency," he told insidethegames.

"In the beginning, I went through a detailed budget with the team and Euro for Euro, we said is this a must have or a nice to have? 

"Can we cross it out?

"Is this really a need?

"Is this really a benefit for us or is it just something we are planning because it's always been done this way?

"What we always have to keep in mind is that we're handling tax money and the people outside want to know what we're doing with the money.

"So, we have to communicate what we're doing with the money."

Groborsch also claimed it is important to give something back to sport in return for the money invested into the Festival, pointing to the 2015 Winter EYOF's collaboration with the international initiative Peace and Sport, and pass on knowledge to future hosts of the EYOFs, such as Tbilisi, who are due to stage the Summer edition next year.

"In my understanding, if you have reached a certain level of knowledge, don't leave the knowledge where it is," said Groborsch, whose sports management career started with the 2005 Winter Universiade in Innsbruck. 

"If somebody's asking for help, transfer the knowledge.

"We don't get money for the transfer of knowledge but it's really something to help each other."

Having shown the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) the nine competition venues and held a plenary session, the Festival organisers are now facing the readiness phase.

Temporary constructions, which will be dismantled after the completion of the Festival, will be erected before the end of the month, as the winter snowfall approaches.

Katerina Nycova (third from left), the European Olympic Committees EYOF manager, has been impressed by the preparations for the Festival ©EYOF 2015Katerina Nycova (third from left), the European Olympic Committees' EYOF manager, has been impressed by the preparations for the Festival ©EYOF 2015

Katerina Nycova, the EYOF manager of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), was extremely complimentary of the Organising Committee but warned the success of the Festival will ultimately depend on the efficiency of the transport system.

There is concern that the long travel distances from the heart of the Festival here in the Montafon Valley and the neighbouring towns of Schruns and Tschagguns, to Malbun and Steg in Liechtenstein, could affect the preparation of athletes.

The estimated journey time ranges from a maximum of one hour 30 minutes to two hours 15 minutes, despite measures being put in place to reduce travel times as much as possible.

"I have to say that the Organising Committee is very professional," said Nycova.

"We know that they were involved in the organisation of the YOG (Youth Olympic Games) in Innsbruck and they're adapting to this edition.

"The preparation is being done in the right way, running according to the schedules, so we don't have any major issues.

"We know that we're in a beautiful area.

"On the other hand, we know that we have some limitations.

"The conditions are not easy regarding the long distances and the accommodation.

"It's not easy to approach it but they're really doing their best and they're doing it in the right way.

"I really believe it's going to be a good event but I also want to say that we all know that the success of the Festival depends on the transportation system."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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