IF THEY ever knew about it, most Buffalonians have forgotten about the Federation Internationale du Sport Universitaire. But FISU did not forget about Buffalo.
Based in Belgium, it's the governing body of the World University Games. A few months after the games ended here in 1993, FISU sued local organizers for $2.37 million even though the games wound up with a $3.6 million debt. The good news is that the suit was dismissed in U.S. District Court the other day. Maybe FISU can go away now.
The organization is run by autocratic Primo Nebiolo, who is also a big power in international track and field. When he was here for the games, Nebiolo went into a snit because former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo failed to show at a reception. Nebiolo's aides sniffed about a breach of protocol.
Spectators with long memories might recall the dreary FISU anthem, played much too often at the events. When it really counted, FISU wasn't around. It offered precious little guidance to local organizers when they stumbled in planning the international gathering. FISU wasn't a clutch player.
FISU based its suit on an alleged agreement about sharing revenue from the games, but there was no signed contract to back up the organization's contentions. Legalities aside, FISU doesn't deserve the money.
In court, the FISU lawyers argued that Buffalo was enjoying continued benefits from the games. In terms of athletic facilities, that's true, but it was the taxpayers who built them, not Nebiolo and his crew.
Another FISU court argument about continuing benefits was that County Executive Gorski reaped political hay for his re-election efforts as a result of the games. That's (a) most doubtful and (b) beside the point.
To the degree the games succeeded, it was in the competition on the field and the venues left behind. FISU neither played nor built anything. Let's go back to forgetting it.