Bobsleigh has followed the lead of eight Summer Federations by suspending its SportAccord membership ©FIBT

SportAccord has been hit by yet another blow after the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (FIBT) became the first winter Federation, and eighth overall, to suspend its membership in response to the criticism of President Marius Vizer about the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its head, Thomas Bach.

The FIBT Executive Committee unanimously decided to make the step following the "inappropriate presentation of criticism and sharp words" during the SportAccord Convention in Sochi, which was re-stated this week during a visit of Vizer to Tokyo, a statement explained.

It added: "As President of SportAccord Mr.Vizer represents the members of SportAccord but his sharp words did not reflect the opinion of FIBT.

"Although this was immediately stated towards SportAccord's President during the SportAccord Convention Mr.Vizer re-stated his opinion again this week as SportAccord President therefore the FIBT Executive Committee had to take the decision to suspend the membership."

Bobsleigh follows the path set by bodies representing athletics, shooting, archery, canoeing, boxing, taekwondo and wrestling, with the latter trio having also announced their withdrawal from the SportAccord-organised World Combat Games.

Every Summer body except for the Vizer-led International Judo Federation has also signed a letter supporting the decision of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations to "disassociate" its affiliation, while both the International Paralympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation have made a similar move.

This marks the first time a winter sport has made a similar gesture.

FIBT President Ivo Ferriani is the first winter sport President to make such a definitive step against SportAccord ©FIBT
FIBT President Ivo Ferriani is the first winter sport President to make such a definitive step against SportAccord ©FIBT

Speaking during the Convention last month, Association of International Olympic Winter Federations President Gian-Franco Kasper, who is also a vice-president of SportAccord, as well as the International Ski Federation chief, said the winter sports body, “didn’t just want to follow the summer sports".

He added:“I tried to calm things down as much as I could.

“There is no reason to exaggerate.”

But, it appears what some have identified as the stubborn belligerence of Vizer, shown by a refusal to backtrack from his remarks during his visit to Japan, claiming the IOC had put pressure on all the Federations to act as they have, has seemingly persuaded the FIBT to be more outspoken.

It will be interesting to see if other bodies soon make a similar step.

During the SportAccord General Assembly, Vizer described the IOC system as "expired, outdated, wrong and unfair" in front of Bach and multiple IOC colleagues.

He also 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 multi-sport events.

No meeting has yet taken place between Bach and Vizer, the IOC confirmed to insidethegames today,  a step most see as vital if any cooling of tensions between the bodies is to occur.

Related stories:
May 2015:
Taekwondo and wrestling "unanimously" supported World Combat Games last month, claims SportAccord
May 2015: International Federations "influenced" to act against me, claims defiant Vizer
May 2015: Nick Butler: Chelyabinsk - Home of nuclear spills, falling meteors and changing times for Mr Vizer
May 2015: Taekwondo and wrestling latest sports to suspend SportAccord membership
May 2015: Boxing withdraws from World Combat Games and suspends SportAccord membership in latest blow for Vizer