Rugby joins SportAccord exodus

Thu May 21, 2015 3:16pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

(Reuters) - Rugby joined equestrian, curling and table tennis in cutting ties with SportAccord on Thursday, the latest round of walkouts after its president sharply criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Some 18 Olympic federations have already withdrawn their membership of the umbrella organization, which represents about 100 Olympic and non-Olympic sports bodies, after its president Marius Vizer criticized the IOC last month.

"World Rugby president Bernard Lapasset’s motion to suspend membership until there is clarity regarding SportAccord’s function and role within the global sporting community and also a detailed review of SportAccord’s governance and management, was unanimously approved," World Rugby said in a statement.

Earlier on Thursday, the equestrian federation issued a similarly-worded statement, announcing its own withdrawal from the organization.

The World Curling Federation (WCF) and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) also suspended their membership, with curling officials saying Vizer's comments did not represent their federation.

Vizer, who accused the IOC of putting pressure on federations, proposed meeting IOC president Thomas Bach to clear the air, but was told that would not happen before the IOC Executive Board had been briefed next month.

Vizer responded on Thursday with a 20-point agenda for the meeting which included discussing prize money for Olympic champions, increased revenues for international federations from the Olympics and co-ownership of the Olympic channel among others.