Alisher Usmanov will be re-elected FIE President unopposed ©Getty Images

Longstanding International Fencing Federation (FIE) President and Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov will be re-elected to the role when the organisation holds its Congress tomorrow.

Usmanov, FIE President since 2008, will secure a fourth term at the helm as he is standing unopposed for re-election at the COVID-19-delayed meeting in Lausanne.

It had been unlikely that anyone would step forward to challenge Usmanov, the founder of Russian holding company USM whose personal fortune is estimated by Forbes to be nearly $12 billion (£9 billion/€10.6 billion).

insidethegames had previously calculated that the 66-year-old, named on a list of individuals jailed Russian politician Alexei Navalny wants Western Governments to sanction earlier this year, had donated around CHF80 million (£65 million/$87 million/€77 million) to the FIE over the course of three Olympic cycles to 2020 since assuming power.

His personal wealth means the FIE is not as reliant on the share of Olympic broadcasting revenue Federations receive after the Games as many of its counterparts.

Usmanov is described as "one of the key enablers and beneficiaries of Russian kleptocracy, with significant ties and assets in the West" by Vladimir Ashurkov - an ally of Navalny.

Outside of the Olympic Movement, Usmanov has ties to Premier League football club Everton as USM holds the naming rights to Everton's new stadium once built.

Sweden has complained over the way its proposal to change fencing's Olympic qualification system was handled by the FIE ©Getty Images
Sweden has complained over the way its proposal to change fencing's Olympic qualification system was handled by the FIE ©Getty Images

In a rare challenge to the FIE and its leadership, the Swedish Fencing Federation (SFF) has accused the worldwide governing body of failing to adhere to the "democratic rights" given to each member.

The dispute stems from a proposal from the SFF to change the qualification process for the Olympics to improve the standard of the individual tournaments at the Games.

The SFF argues team qualification "absorbs such a large part of the total quota that some of the highest-ranked athletes in the world in each weapon are prevented from participating in the individual competitions, making the individual competitions less prestigious and also treating world-class athletes unfairly."

It made suggestions as to how to change the system in a letter to Usmanov and signed by other Member Federations earlier this year, which was rejected by the FIE.

In one reply, Usmanov references how one signatory to the letter is a member of the FIE Executive Committee.

"I wonder what could be the motivation, political or others, for raising the same issue once again, although the answer is obvious," the Russian wrote.

"These attempts could initiate a conflict with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or create a wrong impression about the FIE with the IOC's sport department."

In its latest letter, the SFF claims the proposal should have been tabled at the Congress and the FIE's failure to include it on the agenda represented a breach of the organisation's statutes.

"Our opinion is that the handling of our proposal is not in accordance with the democratic rights of each Member Federation of the FIE," the SFF wrote.

insidethegames has contacted the FIE for comment.