April 20, 2015 / 11:19 AM / 3 years ago

SportAccord chief launches scathing attack on IOC

(Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is not transparent enough and blocks attempts for other multi-sports events, SportAccord President Marius Vizer said on Monday in a scathing attack on the IOC.

International judo federation president Vizer, whose SportAccord organization represents close to 100 Olympic and non-Olympic sports federations and organizers of multi-sports games, said IOC President Thomas Bach interfered with the autonomy of sporting bodies.

But his speech triggered instant reaction with the world athletics federation IAAF withdrawing its SportAccord membership and 15 federations, including soccer’s FIFA and IAAF, signing a letter opposing the comments.

“I always tried to develop a constructive collaboration with the IOC and with President Bach,” Vizer said at the opening of the SportAccord convention in Russia’s Sochi.

“Unfortunately, it never became reality,” he said.

“Mr President, stop blocking the SportAccord strategy in its mission to identify and organize conventions and multi-sport games. Do not try to create a theory around which sports are and are not eligible for multi-sport games,” he said.

“The IOC system is expired, outdated, wrong, unfair and not at all transparent.”

The IOC has had an uneasy relationship with Vizer, who took over SportAccord in 2013 and unsuccessfully attempted to set up his own international multi-sports event, the United world Games.

The IAAF said it was withdrawing its membership in protest about Vizer’s remarks.

“The reason is that we are unable to agree with the contents and tone contained in the speech of the SportAccord President Mr Vizer at the opening this morning,” IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said.

“So this resignation is a protest against the position taken by Mr Vizer against the IOC and his statements about the position of the international federations vis-a-vis the IOC which the IAAF cannot accept.”

The IOC, which usually holds an executive board meeting during SportAccord, has scrapped it this time round.

It has also stopped bid cities for the 2022 winter Olympics from attending the event, robbing it of another attraction.

Vizer also rejected the IOC’s Agenda 2020, a set of reforms approved in December, to make the Games more attractive and relevant to fans, bid cities and sponsors. The Agenda 2020 is the brainchild of Bach.

“My impression is your opinion you have exclusively for you,” German Bach said after Vizer’s speech, before getting the backing of more than a dozen major federations.“We the undersigned....are expressing our disagreement on the opinions expressed this morning by the SportAccord President during the opening speech which do not reflect the views of the international federations,” they said in a letter.

The federations, including football, swimming, athletics, sailing, hockey, badminton, shooting and triathlon among other, also backed Bach and his Agenda 2020 reforms.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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