FIAS secretary general Roberto Ferraris has expressed doubts over whether Turkmenistan will be able to stage next year's World Sambo Championships ©FIAS

Turkmenistan faces being axed as hosts of the 2022 World Sambo Championships if it does not provide assurances to the International Sambo Federation (FIAS) by the end of next month.

The FIAS has set the Turkmenistan National Federation of Martial Arts (TFMA) a deadline of December 31 to guarantee it can manage the event following the organisation's Congress last Thursday (November 11).

Roberto Ferraris, secretary general for the FIAS, told insidethegames they would issue a letter to TFMA President Serdar Berdimuhamedow, asking them to present a plan of how they will deliver next year’s World Championships in Asghabat before the deadline.

Ferraris admitted the FIAS had already started looking at alternative hosts as doubts grow over whether Turkmenistan will fulfil the governing body’s request.

Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat is scheduled to stage the event from November 12 to 14 with the FIAS Congress due to be held in the city prior to the tournament.

Ferraris said the decision to give Turkmenistan the hosting rights was made last year when the central Asian nation was forced to withdraw in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Novi Sad in Serbia then stepped in to play host with Moscow in Russia initially planned to stage this year’s World Championships before it was moved to Tashkent in Uzbekistan because of a package of sanctions imposed against the country by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Tashkent in Uzbekistan was the host for this year's World Sambo Championships ©FIAS
Tashkent in Uzbekistan was the host for this year's World Sambo Championships ©FIAS

Ferraris said the FIAS had hoped to pass the baton onto Turkmenistan as the next hosts at the end of the World Championships, which concluded yesterday, but concerns increase over its suitability because of a lack of assurances.

"Last year, we organised to do it in Ashgabat in 2022 but now we need a programme to organise the Championships," Ferraris told insidethegames.

"You have to be planning a year before to organise everything and they have to send us this programme.

"We will then send our Sports Development Committee to check everything.

"We usually give the FIAS flag to the next country that will organise but that didn’t happen because Turkmenistan didn't do what we asked.

"At the Congress, we said we are going to plan for next year’s Championships to go [to Turkmenistan].

"We have given them a deadline and if they don’t do it by December we will delay Ashgabat and we will find a new one.

"They didn’t give us the guarantees.

"My personal opinion is that they will not give the guarantee for the Championships and that’s why we are already looking for a new one.

"I have seen some choices that we are looking at and I think by the beginning of January we will do another thing.

"We discussed [the situation] again [at the Congress] and we said that this is not enough.

"We gave them [a deadline of] December 15 but we have now given them a couple of weeks more.

"We will send an official letter to the President of Turkmenistan Federation to give us what we need by the end of December."

Abdylla Babayev, right, was one of three medallists for Turkmenistan at the World Sambo Championships ©FIAS
Abdylla Babayev, right, was one of three medallists for Turkmenistan at the World Sambo Championships ©FIAS

Ferraris revealed the FIAS was keen to move the World Championships to different continents having not staged it outside Asia and Europe since African nation Morocco played host in 2015.

Turkmenistan, led by authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, has been criticised for its human rights record.

Human Rights Watch has described Turkmenistan as "an isolated and repressive" country under the rule of Berdimuhamedow, adding the Government "brutally punishes all unauthorised forms of religious and political expression".

It also added there was a "total absence of media freedom in Turkmenistan".

The FIAS Congress in Tashkent also saw delegates increase the number of members to 97 countries following a vote.

National Federations in Australia, Guinea and Saudi Arabia joined the FIAS membership.