Exclusive: Four Summer Olympic Federations remain out of SportAccord as full membership shrinks to 88
Governing bodies representing athletics, golf, rowing and shooting are all currently not members of SportAccord and have no immediate plans to reapply, insidethegames has learned.
The four Federations were among the 22 Olympic and seven non-Olympic sports to leave last April and May following the schism which erupted between then SportAccord President Marius Vizer and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Speaking in front of IOC President Thomas Bach at the SportAccord General Assembly in Sochi, Vizer alleged the IOC “lacked transparency”, that its Agenda 2020 reform process had brought “hardly any benefit” to sport and that it had unfairly blocked SportAccord in its drive to organise new Commissions and events.
A tidal wave of withdrawals and criticism followed these words, eventually culminating in Vizer resigning from his post just 41 days later on May 31.
Some questioned the necessity of SportAccord remaining as an organisation, claiming most of its roles are duplicated by other bodies such as the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).
Because there was nothing in the SportAccord Statutes referring to membership being suspended, all those who withdrew temporarily remain full members and are still involved in the drawing-up of new Statutes, a process set to be ratified at this year’s General Assembly during the SportAccord Convention in Lausanne on April 22.
But the four who resigned their membership rather than suspending it remain outside the club.
The International Paralympic Committee also resigned as a non-voting associate member and have not rejoined.
This means there are currently 88 full sporting federation members plus 17 associate bodies.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) withdrew on April 20, the same day on which Vizer criticised Bach.
Vizer subsequently accused Diack of “sacrificing sport from his family”.
The Senegalese octogenarian, who was replaced by Sebastian Coe as IAAF head in August, was arrested two months later in a French corruption investigation, along with his son, Papa, on suspicion of accepting bribes in return for the covering-up of athletics doping failures.
An IAAF spokesperson said they are “not a member of SportAccord at the moment but there is an open dialogue”.
“The International Golf Federation (IGF) resigned its membership of SportAccord last year and does not currently have plans to reapply,” a IGF representative added.
“We believe ASOIF ably represents its [IGF] interests.”
The International Rowing Federation (FISA) say that they “withdrew from SportAccord and are no longer a member.”
They will be observers at the upcoming General Assembly and are “eagerly awaiting to see what comes out of it”.
“We would like to fully appreciate the mission of the re-constructed organisation and the services it will offer to its members,” a spokesperson added.
The ISSF said: “The ISSF is currently not a member of SportAccord following last year’s withdrawal, and it has not applied for a new membership.”
insidethegames understands that some other ASOIF members are reluctant about committing to membership given the current lack of benefits.
Non-Olympic sports, however, are generally far keener as SportAccord represents their best chance of having a voice on the global stage.
Opposition from these bodies, which collectively represent 58 of the 88 full members, led to the scrapping of plans to change the Statutes so that Summer and Winter Olympic sports controlled five of the seven votes on a new membership framework.
This controversial proposal was not included in the latest Statutes.
This comes as a process begins to select a new President at the General Assembly.
Interim SportAccord head Gian-Franco Kasper has already said he does not intend to stand, while insidethegames reported yesterday that ASOIF and SportAccord Convention President Francesco Ricci Bitti – seen by many as the obvious favourite – also has no current plans to enter the race.
No other eligible candidate has yet emerged, with the nominations process due to close on March 23.
- By Nick Butler at the A La Gare Hotel in Lausanne
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz