New plans presented by SportAccord interim President Gian-Franco Kasper are facing opposition ©SportAccord

Plans to reform the statutes and composition of SportAccord are facing much opposition, insidethegames understands, with the proposal for the body to only have four voting members proving particularly controversial.

Concerns are also being raised that SportAccord is being increasingly dominated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Under the proposed new statutes sent out to members last month, the four umbrella associations representing Summer Olympic, Winter Olympic, IOC-recognised and independent representatives would be the members, meaning individual Federations would only be indirectly represented.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) would hold three votes, the Association of Winter Olympic International Federations (AIOWF) two, while the Association of IOC Recognised International Federations (ARISF) and the Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of SportAccord (AIMS) would have one each.

This would effectively mean that the Olympic sports would hold a clear majority of five of the seven votes, despite only accounting for 34 of the 92 full SportAccord members.

A ruling Executive Board would also exist, consisting of seven members plus a President, and consisting of the same balance of three ASOIF members, two from AIOWF and one each from ARISF and AIMS.

Nothing has yet been confirmed or even debated in detail, but this presents the possibility of the same individuals voting both as wider members, and on the Executive Board. 

This also appears to mean that the General Assembly, held annually at the SportAccord Convention, would consist of only four members, with a separate “annual meeting” also proposed for next year.

Representatives from ASOIF, AIOWF, ARISF and AIMS during a panel session at the IF Forum ©SportAccord
Representatives from ASOIF, AIOWF, ARISF and AIMS during a panel session at the IF Forum ©SportAccord

It is the non-Olympic federations who are most opposed to these plans, but concerns have also been raised by several Olympic ones as well, with one ASOIF-affiliated representative telling insidethegames today the overall objective of the revamped body is not clear and that yesterday's meeting was disorganised and lacking in basic functions for an EGM.

An email was sent to all ARISF members by a representative of one Federation last month, seen by insidethegames, claiming the "whole evolution related to SportAccord is unfortunate and does not bring us the right comfort".

The letter adds: "I have a feeling that the movement is too much in the grip of the IOC and more and more controlled by the IOC.

"I have the impression that the Constitution is written by a lawyer rather than by an experienced person that understands the functioning of the World of Sport and the very need of the International Sport Federations.

"That is to be deplored."

After pointing out alleged shortcomings in the statutes, the letter claims: "ASOIF and the AIOWF are controlling SportAccord - it seems to me that through that system, the IOC is controlling SportAccord.

"That is quite weird, certainly if we know that the IFs are independent International Sport Federations and should not automatically be under the aegis of the IOC, or any other international games organiser.

"The SportAccord should not be dependent of the IOC."

IOC President Thomas Bach spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the IF Forum Representatives from ASOIF, AIOWF, ARISF and AIMS during a panel session at the IF Forum ©SportAccord
IOC President Thomas Bach spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the IF Forum ©SportAccord

A merger between SportAccord and SportAccord Convention was agreed at yesterday’s hour-long EGM, but only “in principal” with further consultation now expected before a final decision next year.

A press release communicated afterwards described the merger as having been approved by a “strong majority”, with members now invited to "submit any specific requests and ideas for the merged SportAccord entity".

Others have suggested, however, support was far lower, while concerned questions were raised by representatives from Olympic and non-Olympic sports.

It follows tensions erupting into the open in spectacular fashion at the Convention in Sochi earlier this year, where then-President Marius Vizer controversially criticised the IOC, its President Thomas Bach, and his Agenda 2020 Reform process.

A total of 22 Olympic and seven non-Olympic sports withdrew or suspended their SportAccord membership before Vizer resigned less than two months after his speech.

ASOIF, AIOWF and ARISF had also disassociated their membership.

The whole future need for SportAccord has been called into question, with many claiming that most of its activities essentially just duplicated those already carried out by other bodies.

A merged organisation purely organising the Convention and the IF Forum, as well as other limited roles if required, has therefore been proposed, although some members still believe there is a need for a more powerful body which retains independence from the IOC.

Vizer remains the President of the International Judo Federation and was present here this week in that capacity, although it is also believed he retains some wider influence behind the scenes.

A SportAccord representative told insidethegames this evening the "draft statutes" that were distributed prior to the EGA were "only on a preliminary basis and the discussions and agreement here clearly stated that the negotiations between SportAccord and the Convention will now begin". 

They added: "The dialogue since the EGA between different IFs has in fact been highly constructive.

"The voting structure that was in the preliminary document circulated before the EGA was based on the SportAccord Convention structure, which is where the numbers emanate from."

Speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the IF Forum, Kasper, who also heads AIOWF and the International Ski Federation, insisted the "SportAccord Council strongly believe that the organisation has an important role to play in the Sports Movement serving all IFs".

He described "it is the place where all Federations with their many different facets - large and small, individual and team, timed and judged sports, Olympic, recognised, associate can all interact, discuss topical issues, share problems and most of all solutions". 

A two-thirds majority of existing members is required to change the statutes, something that it appears hard to see being achieved unless the non-Olympic sports show some support.

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