The International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) has become the first winter sports federation to suspend its ties with SportAccord, claiming it made its decision following further controversial comments made by the latter organisation’s president, Marius Vizer.
At this year’s SportAccord Convention – World Sport and Business Summit in Sochi, Vizer used his opening address at the event to launch an attack on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the various reforms introduced under its recent Agenda 2020.
Vizer was particularly critical of IOC president Thomas Bach, which led to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) immediately stepping aside from SportAccord and a further 14 federations signing a letter denouncing Vizer’s comments.
The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and United World Wrestling (UWW) this week announced the suspension of their membership with SportAccord, as well as withdrawal from the World Combat Games, due to Vizer’s comments. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) took a similar stance last week.
Despite having faced a backlash from various federations, Vizer stood by his comments in an interview with the Japan Times newspaper last weekend, stating that he has “truth on his side”.
In response to the latest quotes, the FIBT has issued a statement to confirm that it will also be suspending its membership of SportAccord, adding: “As president of SportAccord Mr Vizer represents the members of SportAccord but his sharp words did not reflect the opinion of FIBT.
“Although this was immediately stated towards SportAccord’s president during the SportAccord Convention, Mr Vizer re-stated his opinion again this week as SportAccord president therefore the FIBT executive committee had to take the decision to suspend the membership.”
Athletics, archery, canoeing and shooting have also withdrawn or suspended membership of SportAccord. The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) has also suspended ties with Vizer.