IOC Withdraw All Funding from SportAccord until “Agreement Reached” Between Stakeholders
Funding provided to SportAccord by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to be withdrawn, it was announced here following today’s IOC Executive Board meeting.
The move, which accompanies a suspension of the IOC’s recognition of SportAccord, will involve all funding being withheld until questions are answered regarding the status of the body and its relationship with the International Federations.
This funding has previously equated to just under $300,000 (£197,000/€270,000) per year.
“We have been in contact with many of the IFs and their representative bodies in the last days and we have been advised that they want to take some measures in this respect,” a statement said.
“We appreciate the discussions among the IFs and are looking forward to receiving the outcome of their deliberations.
“We would like to invite the representatives of different groups to further discuss this issue and to come to an agreement among all stakeholders.”
It was then outlined that, like many members of SportAccord, they are suspending their recognition and withdrawing funding until “questions are answered and an agreement between the stakeholders is reached”.
In the meantime, they will take over some of the roles previously provided by SportAccord, including “services and advice in the fight against doping”, which is already financed by the IOC in conjunction with the World Anti-Doping Agency.
But it is unknown how much support the non-Olympic Federations, which constitute the majority of the members of SportAccord will receive.
Relations between SportAccord, and its now ex-President Marius Vizer, and the IOC had been deteriorating for some months before conflict erupted spectacularly into the open at April’s SportAccord General Assembly in Sochi.
Speaking in front of IOC President Thomas Bach in his opening address Vizer alleged the body “lacked transparency”, that its Agenda 2020 reform process had brought “hardly any benefit” to sport and unfairly blocked SportAccord in its drive to organise new Commissions and events.
Every Summer Olympic sport body except for the IJF signed a letter supporting the decision of the Association of Summer Olympic International Sports Federations (ASOIF) to “disassociate” its affiliation with SportAccord.
The International Paralympic Committee, Commonwealth Games Federation, Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AWOIF) and Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF) all made similar moves.
A total of 22 Olympic sports and seven non-Olympic sports subsequently withdrew or suspended their membership before Vizer resigned on May 31.
Peruvian capital Lima also withdrew as host of the SportAccord-organised World Combat Games, which had been due to take place in 2017.
As the IOC is not a member of SportAccord, the suspension of recognition is largely symbolic, while the decision to suspend funding is no surprise considering the IOC is thought to have played a key behind-the-scenes role in opposing the body.
But, speaking following today’s meeting, IOC director of communications Mark Adams was keen to claim the International Federations are acting independently, and they will wait and see what is proposed before making a further move.
The decision to provide services formerly undertaken by SportAccord is perhaps a bigger blow, further casting into doubt the necessity of SportAccord’s role within the sporting movement.
As well as anti-doping, this will include good governance and match fixing and related corruption, with the statement explaining their wish to ensure “there is not a vacuum during this ongoing process”.
A meeting is taking place here tomorrow of the SportAccord Council to discuss a replacement for Vizer, with first vice-president Gian Franco Kasper set to be invited to take charge on an interim basis.
The Swiss official, who also heads AIOWF and the International Ski Federation, is yet to indicate whether he would accept such an invitation.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Inside the Games.