The European Weightlifting Federation is set to vote in a new permanent President after a vote of no confidence was taken in current interim leader Maxim Agapitov ©Getty Images

Members of the European Weightlifting Federation (EWF) will vote in a new permanent President two days before the sport’s global governing body holds its own elections.

The EWF election, called by members who took a vote of no confidence in the current interim leader Maxim Agapitov, from Russia, will be held as an online event as many delegates will be on another continent on the day when votes are cast, December 18.

That is one day after the end of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and two days before the crucial IWF elections in the same city.

Nominations for EWF President close on November 16.

Rumours suggest that at least two current Executive Board members of the EWF will stand, but the first person to declare his candidacy is Antonio Conflitti, from Moldova.

Conflitti lost his seat on the Board at the last EWF elections, when he also stood as a Presidential candidate, after publicly voicing his concerns about one of his rivals, Hasan Akkus, of Turkey.

By the time the votes were cast in April, Akkus and Conflitti went head to head, and Akkus won. 

But less than three months later, on June 27, he stood aside as EWF President after being charged with a serious doping offence by the International Testing Agency (ITA).

Akkus is contesting the charge and could yet return to office if he is successful.

The election would have to be cancelled if Akkus was cleared but there has been no indication of an early end to proceedings and no update since Akkus said in September: "I hope the allegations against me will be clarified before the election."

Antonio Conflitti, right, is the person to declare his candidacy for the EWF Presidency ©Antonio Conflitti
Antonio Conflitti, right, is the person to declare his candidacy for the EWF Presidency ©Antonio Conflitti

The ITA has accused Akkus of collusion in an attempt to avoid a possible ban and a hefty fine for the Turkish Weightlifting Federation, of which he was President at the time, when 17 of its athletes tested positive in the last two months of 2012.

"If some member federations had believed in me more, before the last elections in April, all this could have been avoided," Conflitti said.

"Now is not the time to make controversy, the EWF must restart with a new leader."

After Akkus stepped aside in June Agapitov, the EWF’s first vice-president, became Interim President.

He caused consternation among EWF members when, in August, he wrote an open letter that criticised weightlifting officials from Britain and Hungary and which was published on the EWF website.

It was later removed but the incident led to Board members stepping down, and at the EWF Congress in Finland last month there was an overwhelming vote of no confidence in Agapitov’s leadership from Member Federations by 29 votes to four.

Members also voted for an Extraordinary Congress to elect a new permanent leader, which had to be called within 90 days, hence the December 18 election.

EWF Board members have also criticised Agapitov this week for titling himself Acting President when he is officially Interim President, and for stating that Russia had had no in-competition doping violations since 2016, when he took charge of the Russian Weightlifting Federation.

It had one at the 2017 European Junior Championships in Albania, Nikolay Panayotidi, though no sanction was announced until seven months later.

This week Agapitov announced that he would be standing for President of the IWF.