Badminton and karate have become the latest sports to withdraw from SportAccord ©Getty Images

Karate, korfball, orienteering and motor racing have become the first non-Olympic sports to officially register discontent with SportAccord today, while badminton has become the 22nd Olympic one to disaffiliate.

In a statement, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) revealed the decision to suspend its membership will be with "immediate effect until further notice".

A letter has been sent by BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer to SportAccord counterpart Marius Vizer informing him of the decision.

It follows BWF’s "strong disagreement" with Vizer’s controversial comments about the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and IOC President Thomas Bach at the annual SportAccord Convention last month.

In the letter they also underlined their “strong support for the IOC and to the Olympic Agenda 2020 which has been adopted under the leadership of the IOC President Thomas Bach in consultation and agreement with all the International Federations".

It added: "More recent statements by Vizer clearly show that BWF is not aligned with the opinions and vision of SportAccord and you [Vizer] as the President of the organisation”.

But, while this brings to 22 the total number of Summer Olympic sports to have suspended or withdrawn their membership, the decision of four non-Olympic ones to suspend ties is arguably a greater blow.

Vizer's support from these bodies was seen as key in him defeating IOC-backed opponent Bernard Lapasset in the race for the SportAccord Presidency in 2013.

Many of his ideas have been seen as promoting their interests to a greater extent than for the Olympic ones.

Both the World Karate Federation and the International Korfball Federation (IKF) announced their disaffiliation today.

Korfball's release also claimed both the Federation Internationale de Automobile (FIA) and the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) have made a similar move. 

Neither the WKF, IKF or IOF have withdrawn fully, however, because all three are International World Games Association (IWGA) members and the statutes of the IWGA require them to be SportAccord members.

The question of changing these statutes was raised during the IWGA General Assembly in Sochi last month, although no decision has yet been made. 

Former SportAccord Council member Antonio Espinós claimed there had been no warning for Vizer's outburst when announcing karate's withdrawal ©Getty Images
Former SportAccord Council member Antonio Espinós claimed there had been no warning for Marius Vizer's outburst when announcing karate's withdrawal ©Getty Images

"Your actions since Sochi have forced us to take this unpleasant decision," WKF President Antonio Espinós wrote in a letter to Vizer.

The Spaniard had spent eight years as a SportAccord Council member before being replaced by World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari following an election last month.

"Additionally, neither the IFs, nor the SportAccord Council - where all the IFs are represented - have been consulted on the stance you have taken.

"The World Karate Federation also wants to take this opportunity to express its full confidence in the IOC, in its President and in all the IOC structures, and we look forward to a continued close relationship with the IOC."

Korfball's message followed a letter sent by IKF President Jan Fransoo "after consultation and with unanimous support of the full IKF Executive Committee".

“Like many other SportAccord members," the letter explained, "we were unpleasantly surprised by your remarks on behalf of the International Federations” at the opening of the SportAccord General Assembly in Sochi.

"The remarks do not represent the position of the International Korfball Federation, and we have not been consulted in any way before these remarks were delivered."

IOF President Brian Porteous has told insidethegames that he has written to Vizer to express concerns and that he backs the approach of President Perurena of the IWGA.

This all marks the latest blow to SportAccord following Vizer's speech at the Convention in Sochi, where he 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 Olympic 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.

BWF's withdrawal follows those of athletics, shooting, archery, canoeing, boxing, hockey, taekwondo, wrestling, bobsleigh, triathlon, weightlifting, rowing, modern pentathlon, volleyball, equestrian, curling, table tennis, rugby, fencing, cycling and basketball, with more likely over coming days.

Another blow came yesterday when Peruvian capital Lima withdrew from hosting the SportAccord-organised World Combat Games in 2017 following "recent developments", which had included taekwondo, boxing and wrestling pulling out from the event.

BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer wrote a letter to Vizer explaining badminton's decision to suspend its membership ©AFP/Getty Images
BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer wrote a letter to Marius Vizer explaining badminton's decision to suspend its membership ©AFP/Getty Images

Bach is set to consult with key stakeholders before deciding whether to accept an invitation made by Vizer last week to hold a summit on the crisis.

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 this 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.

Vizer also last week published a 20-point agenda, which has been communicated to Bach, Ricci Bitti and the Presidents of all Federations, 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”.

But in a letter, seen by insidethegames, Ricci Bitti urged Vizer to stop speaking on behalf of International Federations, claiming they “do not feel represented” by the union he heads.

Another letter has been sent today, seen by insidethegames, by the Alliance of Independent Members of SportAccord (AIMS) President, Stephen Fox and sent to Vizer, Bach, Ricci Bitti and other stakeholders.

After outlining how the AIMS needs both the IOC and SportAccord, it urges all sports leaders to "sit together, regardless of the circumstances, to create a dialogue so that our common goals may continue to prevail".

Related stories
May 2015:
Lima withdraws as host for 2017 SportAccord World Combat Games
May 2015: Exclusive: Basketball becomes latest sport to suspend SportAccord membership
May 2015: ASOIF President Ricci Bitti urges Vizer to stop speaking on behalf of International Federations
May 2015: International Fencing Federation suspends SportAccord membership
May 2015: David Owen: Vizer spells out his version of Agenda 2020, but is anyone still listening?