Exclusive: SportAccord reiterate proposed merger with SportAccord Convention ahead of crunch meeting
A letter reiterating the aims of next week’s crunch SportAccord Extraordinary General Meeting has been sent out by Council chairman Gian-Franco Kasper following more suggestions there is no longer any need for the body.
Proposing a merger of SportAccord with the annual SportAccord Convention is the foremost aim of the meeting at Lausanne’s Hotel Royal Savoy, which is scheduled for November 11 shortly before an International Federations (IF) Forum there.
Problems within SportAccord, an umbrella organisation for sport federations, came to a head in April after then-President Marius Vizer launched a controversial attack on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its President Thomas Bach during this year’s General Assembly in Sochi.
This swiftly prompted 22 Olympic and seven non-Olympic sports to withdraw or suspend their SportAccord membership.
Russia also withdrew from hosting up to the next five editions of the annual Convention.
Following Vizer’s resignation in May, there has been a desire to resurrect the Convention, billed as a premier annual networking opportunity for the Olympic Movement to come together.
SportAccord and SportAccord Convention have shared an office since July and the proposed amalgamation would effectively mean that SportAccord has few other responsibilities.
“One point coming from the various communications we have received from a few members is that further clarification is required about the proposed structure to merge SportAccord and SportAccord Convention,” said Kasper in a letter sent to all members and obtained by insidethegames.
“We have already received some much appreciated feedback and suggestions on a number of points in the draft statutes,” Kasper, also President of the International Ski Federation, concluded in his letter.
“I would like to mention that this is only a preliminary document and we look forward to discussions during the EGA.”
Organising the annual SportAccord Convention and IF Forum is indeed cited as the main objective, as well as providing services for the IFs which does “not involve duplication of those provided by other stakeholders”.
This could include the Doping Free Sport Unit under which various Federations orchestrate their work against illegal drug use in sport.
Facilitating the “organisation of multi-sport events as appropriate” is also mentioned, such as the World Mind Games, first held in 2011 in Beijing, and, possibly, the World Combat Games, for which Lima withdrew its hosting rights for the proposed 2017 edition earlier this year.
There appeared little enthusiasm, however, for these ideas from delegates at last week’s Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in Washington D.C, although this was arguably not representative as the Olympic Federations within SportAccord were present on a far greater basis than non-Olympic ones.
The proposal for a new independent anti-doping agency to orchestrate activities across all IFs proposed at last month’s Olympic Summit also appears to lessen the need for the Doping Free Sport Unit.
A future President for the body is not on the agenda in Lausanne, and will not be officially discussed until the merger is confirmed, with only items on the programme to be considered at the EGM.
Informal discussions can be expected, however, regarding a host for next year’s Convention following the withdrawal of Dubai last week.
The United Arab Emirates city was widely expected to host the Convention and the decision to pull-out last week was a major shock to most officials.
Qatari capital Doha is considered a possible replacement, although they may prefer to concentrate on hosting the ANOC General Assembly later in the year.