Biathlon events this season will provide an incentive for athletes to be vaccinated ©Getty Images

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has confirmed the 2021-2022 season is to go ahead as scheduled, but has encouraged athletes and staff to get vaccinated by creating incentives for those who have received doses against COVID-19.

Following advice from the Medical Advisory Group, the IBU stated the vaccination of athletes and officials was necessary for the safety of the events and encouraged those not vaccinated to do so.

Those who are not will have to provide several polymerase chain reaction tests at their own cost to enter and stay in the event bubble.

Organisers of events and the IBU are to provide testing stations for unvaccinated participants, but will no longer provide its own mobile laboratories.

All IBU officials - Executive Board members, staff and referees - travelling to events must be fully vaccinated too.

The IBU state they will continue to work in line with Government guidelines and said depending on the development of COVID-19, the guidelines could be updated during the season.

During its recent Executive Board meeting earlier this month, members decided to create the IBU Organising Committee Award for Excellence in Sustainability, looking to promote efficiency and environmentalism.

The IBU and the Biathlon Integrity Unit (BIU) held a joint board meeting to discuss the Integrity Code, investigations into the Moscow Laboratory database and the BIU's strategy to tackle doping.

Following the Executive Board meeting, the National Federation (NF) Presidents' meeting took place which focused on the IBU Sustainability Strategy, the IBU Gender Equality Strategy, the IBU Digital Strategy and sports technical topics.

The 2021-2022 biathlon season is to go ahead as planned ©Getty Images
The 2021-2022 biathlon season is to go ahead as planned ©Getty Images

Budgets and contributions to NFs for the next five years were set by the Presidents too.

"It was very important to be able to meet our NFs again," said IBU President Olle Dahlin.

"We have given ourselves a plan at hand how to develop over the next ten years with measurable objectives on sports development, financial growth, gender equality and sustainability. 

"At the same time, we have not only defined strategies and visions, but we are also working towards making sure that our members can implement programmes on a national level. 

"From improving governance to securing athlete development, the IBU as an International Federation, has to provide strategic guidance to our members and facilitate implementation for the good of our sport."

Biathlon Organising Committees for events this year are set to meet this weekend in Bled in Slovenia.