Sergey Eliseev, head of the European Sambo Federation, has warned the existing rift between SportAccord and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Presidents Marius Vizer and Thomas Bach, could delay sambo’s attempts to gain IOC recognition.
International Sambo Federation (FIAS) chief Vasily Shestakov claimed in September that sambo could be recognised as early as this year, but following Vizer’s controversial attack on Bach and the IOC at last month’s Sport Accord Convention in Sochi, Eliseev believes the ambition of sambo, and that of other sports, to take the coveted step could be put on hold.
"Any conflict has a negative impact on the development of any sport, and of course for sambo this is a negative aspect," he told insidethegames.
"I think that the recognition will be delayed because the conflict should be solved.
"They will be occupied with solving the conflict, not with the inclusion of any types of sport."
FIAS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Judo Federation (IJF), which is headed by Vizer, on the final day of the World Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk last August.
The initial one-year agreement was hailed by sambo as another important step in its bid to be recognised by the IOC and, ultimately, win a place on the Olympic Games programme.
It followed confirmation that sambo had been added to the sports programme of the inaugural European Games, scheduled to take place in Baku next month.
"We belong to the same family and share the same values," declared Vizer at the time.
"I wish that sambo would become more and more independent sport.
"I wish sambo to achieve recognition of the International Olympic Committee.
"We hope that our cooperation will help sambo reach this status."
In February, IOC President Bach visited the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism in Moscow, where he had what Shestakov described as an "informal conversation" with two-time world sambo champion Yana Kostenko.
Asked by Russia's Kostenko about the possibility of granting IOC recognition to sambo, Bach simply answered "maybe, maybe".
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