Anna Arzhanova is prioritising multi-sports events as part of her SportAccord Presidential bid ©ARISF

Working with the new Olympic TV Channel to showcase expanded multi-sports Games is among the ideas proposed by SportAccord Presidential candidate Anna Arzhanova, as she plans for a more powerful and active organisation.

Arzhanova, the Russian who is also President of the World Underwater Federation (CMAS), is locked in a two-horse race with International Basketball Federation (FIBA) secretary general Patrick Baumann for the Presidency, insidethegames revealed last month.

An election is due to be held during the SportAccord General Assembly in Lausanne on April 22.

Baumann, a representative of a summer Olympic sport and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is generally seen as the preferred candidate of the IOC, while Arzhanova's best chances of support appear to come from the non-Olympic sports which make up 54 of the 88 SportAccord members. 

However, she is keen to present an olive branch to all sides and believes they should work together and use the body as a forum to discuss and find solutions for many of the key issues in sport today.

“SportAccord should be a common house where Federations and other organisations come together," the 46-year-old , a Council member of the Association of the IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF), told insidethegames.

"Federations all have problems and this is a place where they can discuss them, find solutions and exchange experiences and best practices.

"For me it is very important.

"I have spoken with many Federations and many share my vision.

"It is also important that all IFs keep on having direct participation with right of vote."

Anna Arzhanova (bottom left) pictured with her colleagues on the ARISF Council ©ARISF
Anna Arzhanova (bottom left) pictured with her colleagues on the ARISF Council ©ARISF

This is at odds with the decline in influence of SportAccord ever since International Judo Federation head Marius Vizer resigned as President last May following his criticism of the IOC, its President Thomas Bach and his Agenda 2020 reform agenda.

Critics, particularly within the Olympic Federations, have claimed much of SportAccord's work duplicates that of other bodies.

The primary responsibility should simply be organising the annual SportAccord Convention and IF Forum, they claim.

A potential merger between SportAccord and the SportAccord Convention - chaired by Italy's Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) President Francesco Ricci Bitti - had originally been due for approval in Lausanne but has now been postponed until the new SportAccord Statutes are passed, with discussion at next year's General Assembly thought more likely.

Arzhanova, however, believes the merger is not a good idea for the time being, suggesting that it would be difficult for the proposals to gain the necessary two-thirds majority of members' support.

“At the moment, many Federations are not willing and I do not think it is a good idea," she said.

"There were a lot of complaints.

"But, in the future, there may be a different situation - it is up to the Federations to decide."

Rolling-out more SportAccord organised multi-sport Games is another priority.

As well as the existing World Combat Games, World Urban Games and World Mind Games - which have all been dormant in the 11 months since Vizer's departure - this could involve other events, such as a "Water" or "Extreme" Games, but only if the demand is there.

Multi-sports Games suitable for more sports, including Anna Arzhanova's own World Underwater Federation, could be considered ©CMAS
Multi-sports Games suitable for more sports, including Anna Arzhanova's own World Underwater Federation, could be considered ©CMAS

A principal aim for Arzhanova would be to increase opportunities for non-Olympic sports, although Olympic ones could participate as well providing there was not too much overlap with the events on the Olympic proogramme.

"It is up to people to agree on a shared concept," Arzhanova said.

Using the new Olympic Channel, a key strand of Agenda 2020 which is expected to come into operation some time after Rio 2016, would be a means to better showcase these events while also aligning closer with the IOC, Arzhanova believes.

This can be construed as an attempt to dismiss claims that she is a less suitable candidate from the IOC's perspective than Switzerland's Baumann, a view connected to the fact that she has enjoyed a close working relationship with Vizer in the past.

“We must improve our relations with the IOC," she told insidethegames.

"All the Federations – Olympic and non-Olympic – should come together, and walk together hand in hand with the IOC.

"We should propose that our multi-sport Games should be involved in the new Olympic Channel.”

To this end, she also vowed to do "all she can" to bring back the four Federations who have currently left SportAccord and have no current plans to return - athletics, golf, rowing and shooting.

"SportAccord is the house for all Federations and for all sport," she said.

"I will put all my efforts into this."