Truth 'too shocking' for IOC but pressure must stop: Vizer
By Karolos Grohmann
BERLIN (Reuters) - SportAccord president Marius Vizer has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to end pressure on federations to withdraw their membership of his organization after he criticized the Olympic body last month.
Vizer, who heads the international judo federation and the umbrella body SportAccord, which has about 100 sports federations as members, had accused the IOC of being dated, blocking new events and lacking transparency among other things.
Since Vizer's scathing attack at the SportAccord convention, which he said was probably "too shocking" for the IOC, more than a dozen Olympic federations, including athletics, boxing, archery, taekwondo, triathlon, hockey and wrestling, have left, saying his comments did not represent them.
"I had expected more solidarity from international federations, specifically from summer Olympics federations, because I spoke out in the favor of the sport," Vizer told Reuters in an interview.
"I did not attack (IOC president Thomas) Bach or the IOC. But it is up to the federations to decide what they consider the best for their situation and their sports community," said Vizer.
SportAccord, which also hosts smaller multi-sports events like the World Combat Games, is not hugely important for major sports such as athletics, whose financial dependence on the Olympics and their promotion through them is critical.
But for smaller federations and especially those who are not part of the Olympics, SportAccord is key to generating new revenue streams, showcasing the sport and increasing participation.