Fencing has become the latest sport to suspend its SportAccord membership ©Getty Images

The International Fencing Federation (FIE) and the International Cycling Union (UCI) have suspended their memberships with SportAccord, increasing the total number of sports to 20. 

The FIE's suspension was confirmed in a letter sent by President Alisher Usmanov to Marius Vizer, President of SportAccord.

Usmanov’s letter cites Vizer’s position towards the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the reason for suspending its membership, saying that he has caused harm to International Federations (IFs) and has not taken their interests into account.

He expresses his firm disagreement with Vizer’s contentious views and with the form and content of the accusations made in a speech directed towards the IOC and its President, Thomas Bach, at last month's SportAccord Convention in Sochi. 

UCI followed suite this afternoon, confirming the decision had been ratified by its Management Committee "based on the events surrounding the SportAccord General Assembly".

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.

Every summer sport body except for the Vizer-led International Judo Federation signed a letter supporting the decision of the Association of Summer Olympic International Sports Federations (ASOIF) to "disassociate" its affiliation with SportAccord, while both the International Paralympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation have made a similar move.

Usmanov adds that the FIE could re-join SportAccord upon the establishment of constructive dialogue between SportAccord and the IOC, and if the association issues an official apology to Bach.

“In line with the principles of the Olympic Movement, which are based on honesty and transparency, I believe that Mr Vizer should re-assess his relations with the IOC and the international sporting federations and determine the principles for future co-operation,” said Usmanov.

“I would be happy to assist in any way possible to resolve these fundamental disagreements and establish constructive dialogue.”

Marius Vizer's scathing attack on the International Olympic Committee, and its President Thomas Bach, at last month's SportAccord Convention has led to 19 sports suspending their membership with SportAccord
Marius Vizer's scathing attack on the International Olympic Committee, and its President Thomas Bach, at last month's SportAccord Convention has led to 19 sports suspending their membership with SportAccord ©SportAccord

The withdrawal follow those of athletics, shooting, archery, canoeing, boxing, hockey, taekwondo, wrestling, bobsleigh, triathlon, weightlifting, rowing, modern pentathlon, volleyball, equestrian, curling, table tennis and rugby. 

Bach is set to consult with key stakeholders before deciding whether to accept an invitation made by Vizer on Tuesday (May 19) to hold a summit on the crisis which has caused a mass exodus from SportAccord. 

Both Bach and Francesco Ricci Bitti, head of ASOIF, have been invited to stage talks for "positive discussions which will lead to tangible solutions".

Vizer recommends next week in Lausanne or in Paris between June 5 and 7.

If the proposal is accepted, the meeting will take place before the IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne on June 7, and then the IOC Candidate City Briefing for the 2022 Winter Olympic bidding race on June 9 and 10, which is set to be one of the first major gatherings of the Olympic Movement since the SportAccord Convention.

Yesterday, Vizer published a 20-point agenda, which has been communicated to Bach, Ricci Bitti and the Presidents of all IFs, and covers a wide range of issues.

As well as proposing the introduction of prize money for Olympic athletes, Vizer has also called for 50 per cent ownership of the Olympic TV Channel by all International Federations, as well as “complete transparency regarding consultants, wages and contracts”.

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