Luciano Rossi has taken the result of the ISSF Presidential election to the Court of Arbitration for Sport ©ISSF

The defeated candidate in last year's knife-edge election for the Presidency of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) is seeking to annul the result at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Luciano Rossi, President of the Italian Skeet Shooting Federation (FITAV), has filed an appeal calling for "the elections at the 68th ISSF General Assembly" to be found "null and void".

Rossi lost last November's vote, which took place in Munich, by 144 votes to 148.

The result handed the ISSF Presidency to the Italian's sole rival, Vladimir Lisin of Russia, one of the world's wealthiest men.

The previous President, Olegario Vázquez Raña of Mexico, held the post for no less than 38 years.

Lisin swiftly announced his intention to use $10 million (£8 million/€98 million) of his own money to establish a development fund for the sport.

A 39-page appeal brief, naming Rossi as appellant, claims to have unearthed "concrete evidence" that the elections were "irregular".

It alleges that there is "strong evidence that severe manipulations of the elections occurred".

It also states that Rossi "requested clarification on the elections" in December 2018, and reiterated the request "many times", but only "learned of the irregularities of the elections" in June.

Rossi alleges specifically that there is "strong evidence" that two bodies - the Cayman Island Sport Shooting Association and the Saint Lucia Shooting Association - were deprived of the opportunity to vote for him "by not accepting the proxy letter of Cayman Islands and arbitrarily suspending Saint Lucia".

It is further alleged that without the ISSF's "undue interference and manipulations, the appellant would have obtained 148 votes and tied with Mr Lisin".

With regard to the Cayman Islands, the appeal brief notes that the body appointed FITAV as its proxy.

It goes on: "Not only to the surprise of the appellant but also to FITAV and the Cayman Federation, the proxy appointment was counted as invalid, since another federation, i.e the Bulgarian Trap and Skeet Federation, had allegedly already appointed the delegation of FITAV as its proxy."

According to the ISSF's constitution, while proxies are permitted, "one member may not represent more than one other member".

The appeal brief continues: "It is worthwhile to note that the Cayman Islands Sport Shooting Association sent the 'written proxy' in favour of FITAV to the respondent on 11 November 2018, whereas the Bulgarian Federation sent its 'written proxy' 10 days later, on 21 November 2018.

"At first glance, there might be no logical explanation that the proxy sent by the Bulgarian Federation was eventually registered with FITAV whereas the proxy sent by the Caymanian Federation was found invalid and not vice versa…

"For the very well networked Bulgarian Federation it would have been a lot easier than for the far-off domiciled Caymanian Federation to find another Federation to appoint as proxy.

Vladimir Lisin, seen here behind Russian President Vladimir Putin, won the ISSF Presidency ©Getty Images
Vladimir Lisin, seen here behind Russian President Vladimir Putin, won the ISSF Presidency ©Getty Images

"However, it is more serious that the respondent did not inform the Caymanian Federation that its proxy had not been accepted…

"The Caymanian Federation took it for granted that the proxy was accepted and would exercise its right to vote at the 68th General Assembly.

"Due to the lack of notification of the Caymanian Federation as well as FITAV about the (erroneous) rejection of the former's proxy appointment, the ISSF ensured that the Caymanian Federation was deprived of its possibility to give proxy to another Member Federation."

With regard to Saint Lucia, the appeal brief notes that it was one of 11 suspended Member Federations at the time of the General Assembly. 

It cites a letter pronouncing the suspension, signed by then ISSF President Vázquez Raña, dated September 27, 2018.

It goes on: "Upon receipt of the suspension letter, the Saint Lucian Federation paid the due membership fee of CHF100 (£80/€90).

"However, the Saint Lucian Federation did not pay the re-affiliation fee of CHF200 (£170/€180), pursuant to Art. 1.3.13 of the constitution."

The appeal brief then alleges: "After the payment of the membership fee, the respondent did not inform the Saint Lucian Federation that the payment was irregular or that the payment of the re-affiliation fee was missing.

"Likewise, once Saint Lucia gave proxy to the Albanian Federation, nobody from the ISSF informed the Saint Lucian Federation (or the Albanian Federation) that the proxy was not admitted.

"Only on 30 November 2018 - the day of the elections - the President of the Albanian Federation Mr Stefan Rrufa found out that he could not exercise the proxy."

Asked for a response to the filing by insidethegames, the ISSF said: "It is correct that Mr Rossi as an individual has filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ISSF elections more than eight months after these took place on 30 November 2018.

"We can assure you that there has been no 'manipulation' of the results.

"For this reason also none of the ISSF Member Federations has raised any concerns or even challenged the results of the elections.

"Hence, this appeal is completely meritless and seems to be a frivolous action by Mr Rossi driven by his political agenda with the aim to further disrupt the unity of ISSF members and to influence the decision-making process about reforms to the ISSF constitution.

"We are very confident that the CAS is going to put an end to this very soon."

Rossi was previously suspended for three years by the ISSF Ethics Committee, which would have ruled him out of the Presidential election, before this ban was cut to 20 weeks by the CAS on appeal.

He was accused of numerous ethics violations by the ISSF Ethics Committee, including an alleged conflict of interest, disloyalty and failing to act with credibility and integrity in his capacity as vice-president.

After cutting his ban, CAS said "the appearance of possible personal and/or political motivation has been allowed to enter into the Executive Committee's actions against Mr Rossi and indeed the Ethics Committee's endorsement of extensive punishment".

Rossi then reportedly received death threats on the eve of the Presidential vote, prompting the International Olympic Committee to ask about safety measures.