IOC emerge as clear winners in SportAccord battle

Tue May 26, 2015 5:25am EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has emerged as the clear winner in a battle for influence over international sports federations as rival organization SportAccord has been left in tatters.

A rare public confrontation that began last month with a scathing attack by SportAccord President Marius Vizer on the IOC has essentially ended with the complete isolation of SportAccord, an umbrella organization for some 100 sports federations.

Dozens of them, including most Olympic federations, have either withdrawn their membership of SportAccord or made their opposition to Vizer's comments public, siding with the IOC.

Vizer had accused the IOC of lacking transparency and blocking new events, calling their system "expired, outdated, wrong, unfair and not at all transparent."

Even after Vizer proposed a meeting with the IOC to clear the air with a 20-point agenda that included major demands in favor of his members, federations continued to drop out of SportAccord en masse.

In an interview with Reuters last week, Vizer, the head of the International Judo Federation, cried foul, accusing IOC President Thomas Bach of pulling federations' strings in the background.

"They (the IOC) did not analyze my proposals but just took measures to punish me because I expressed a voice on behalf of me and millions of sports people," Vizer said.

"I was straight and direct and I feel that president Bach has stayed just behind all the story, in the shadows."   Continued...

The moon is pictured through a sculpture in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne December 9, 2009. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse