German federation and Savchenko/Szolkowy
In July the top leadership of the German federation (DEU) resigned when they did not get unanimous support from the member clubs at their annual meeting. A new election was quickly held, and the new president is Dieter Hillebrand, whose background is hockey. He was head of the recently disbanded "Eissport-Dachverband" ("Umbrella Association of Ice Sport"), which was felt to be superfluous.
The primary issue with the DEU is solvency, and the members did not trust the leadership to save the DEU from bankruptcy. Apparently the financial records had not been made available for review for several years. The German Interior Ministry has also withheld all funding since the Olympics. Some have speculated that they were punishing the DEU for not successfully splitting Savchenko/Szolkowy from Ingo Steuer, but other reports point to the government's desire to see more financial information and accountability. (Germany has its own financial woes and needs to cut back as well.)
The new president, Dieter Hillebrand, and his new team have been studying the situation for the past month. There is no money to support any summer camps for skaters. All skaters have to be content with working at their home rinks. And a number of rinks may close. The rinks/training centers rely on support from the DEU and that's currently not available. Most notable among the rinks/training centers is Oberstdorf! There is hope that Oberstdorf will be able to earn enough at the fall events they are hosting to survive, but things are definitely dicey. (Oberstdorf would continue as a training site for other sports.)
Savchenko/Szolkowy are currently training in Toronto with Ingo Steuer, who has some other students there. According to a report in the Chemnitz paper, they have talked with the new leadership team of the DEU, and Steuer will be allowed to continue as their coach! The issue of financing still needs to be resolved since public monies will not be available due to Ingo's Stasi past. Much of German skating is financed by public monies. Robin Szolkowy has been threatened with the loss of his support through the Army because he still lists Steuer as coach, and that issue is still unresolved. Steuer will now be able to go to international competitions with them. Presumably that does not include the Olympics in 2010. The DEU has told Savchenko/Szolkowy that they will work with them to resolve the financial issue. Robin feels good about the conversation: "We got the feeling that these people are willing to support us."
I compiled the above info from a number of German news articles. If you'd like the links, let me know and I'll try to find them. My life is very complicated right now, but I'll try to let you know of any other news in a timely fashion.
Wow Anke - thanks for all the information. How sad about the financial state of the German federation and the closure of rinks and lack of money for them. I always think the UK and Germanny have a lot in common with skating and the loss of funding and public interest in it. ONe thing we noticed over hear was after "Dancing on Ice" (the uk's equivalent of the US's skating with celebrities) the boost in interest was huge - although the numbrs have dwindled again we have a very large beginner adults group that are hooked!