May 11, 2015 / 4:13 PM / in 3 years

Wrestling, taekwondo joins SportAccord exodus

MUNICH (Reuters) - The international wrestling federation (UWW) and the world taekwondo federations (WTF) on Monday pulled out of the sports umbrella organization SportAccord until relations improve following a row with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Nenad Lalovic, International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles President, listens to a question during a news conference in Buenos Aires September 6, 2013. REUTERS/Martin Acosta

“Our decision, which is based on our full commitment to the Olympic Movement and its leadership, implies that for the time being, United World Wrestling shall refrain to participate in the activities and games organized by SportAccord, until the relations with ASOIF has improved to the latter’s satisfaction,” UWW President Nenad Lalovic said in a statement.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) has suspended links with SportAccord after its President Marius Vizer’s scathing attack on the IOC last month.

“This was a difficult decision, in particular as we have worked closely with SportAccord in the past to secure additional opportunities for wrestling and traditional wrestling,” Lalovic said.

“I sincerely hope that the crisis within SportAccord can be resolved soon, in the best interest of sport.”

The WTF also joined the string of departures following a board meeting on Monday.

“After consultation with the WTF members, the WTF Council has unanimously decided to suspend the WTF’s membership with SportAccord with immediate effect,” WTF President Chungwon Choue said.

”It is with regret that taekwondo will not participate in the World Combat Games. However, we will continue to promote taekwondo and the Olympic values around the world and develop our sport for our athletes and our millions of fans worldwide.

The international boxing federation (AIBA) withdraw last week from SportAccord, an organization representing close to 100 Olympic and non-Olympic sports federations and organizers of multi-sports games.

More have pulled out since Vizer’s attack last month.

The withdrawals are a major blow to Vizer who emerged as a self-styled reformer of international sport when he took over the SportAccord presidency two years ago.

But he accused the IOC last month of interfering with the autonomy of federations, being dated and blocking other new events emerging.

SportAccord may not be of huge benefit for big sports such as athletics and soccer but for some smaller sports it is an annual showcase of their development to the largest possible audience of sports administrators, governments, federations and event organizers.

SportAccord also organizes the World Combat Games in 2017 with fencing, weightlifting and judo, the international federation of which is led by Vizer himself, the only Olympic sport left after the withdrawal of boxing and wrestling.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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