PtG Article 01.06.2015

SportAccord president Vizer steps down after row with IOC

Marius Vizer has resigned as SportAccord president citing a lack of willingness from the IOC to collaborate after the unresolved dispute at the SportAccord convention in Sochi.

Since Marius Vizer’s harsh critique aimed at the IOC and Thomas Bach at the SportAccord convention, the members of the umbrella organisation for international sport  federations have trickled away to a point that has ultimately led to Vizer’s resignment as president of SportAccord.

The viewpoints expressed in Marius Vizer’s mush discussed opening speech at the SportAccord Convention in Sochi earlier this year, in which he called the IOC “expired, outdated, wrong, unfair and not at all transparent”, never found much support among SportAccord’s member federations.

Since the convention, more than 20 sports federations have either cut ties with SportAccord or have suspended their membership, while declaring their support for the Olympic movement. The latest to join the flea from SportAccord was the association of Olympic winter sports (AIOWF), and when non-olympic organisations as well as future host cities also pulled away from the organisation, Vizer chose to step down.

“I withdraw with honor and for the honor of sport, its credibility in society, and I hope that one day sport becomes a completely transparent system, a moral code and a model for society,” Vizer said in his resignation letter, sent to all international federations.

In the letter, Vizer maintains his critique of the IOC and the sports system.

“Today, the system working behind the doors is dictated by nobility titles or family inherited titles, or by members appointed for life and I hope that in the future, the basic criteria of the system will be dictated by the achievements in sport, professionalism, performances, fair-play, transparency and the courage to express the truth,” the letter said.

In the aftermath of the Sochi speech, Vizer called for a meeting with IOC president Thomas Bach and the association of the Olympic summer sports (ASOIF) discussing a 20-point reform agenda that Vizer had drawn up for ways to improve the sport movement.

But according to Vizer, Bach and the IOC never reacted to his proposals for collaboration.

“My door has always been open for collaboration, theirs [the IOC’s ed.] was always closed,” Vizer writes.

The IOC has only briefly commented on Vizer’s move.

“We have been informed of the resignation,'' the IOC said according to AP. ''We will continue our on-going work and consultation with the international federations and other members of the Olympic Movement. The topic will be discussed at the IOC executive board next week.''

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