Olympics-SportAccord chief Vizer resigns after row with IOC


(Refiles with 'Olympics' in headline)

By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN, May 31 (Reuters) - SportAccord president Marius Vizer resigned on Sunday, conceding defeat in a row with the International Olympic Committee over control of international sports federations.

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Vizer had challenged the IOC's grip on global sports, accusing it of being dated and blocking the creation of new events as well as lacking transparency.

His sharply-worded comments last month triggered a wave of departures from the umbrella organisation, representing some 100 international sports federations.

Many of the departing federations accused Vizer of a unilateral move and not speaking on behalf of SportAccord's members.

A subsequent 20-point agenda from Vizer for a proposed meeting with the IOC to clear the air demanded even more concessions.

The IOC refused to meet Vizer until after an Executive Board meeting in June.

"When I emigrated from communism in 1988, I risked my life and my family's life in order to live in a free and democratic world, where one of the supreme values is the freedom of speech and of opinion," Vizer, a former Romanian judoka, said in a statement.

"In this past month it was proven that in the free world there are, still, higher structures where the supreme value is silence!"

Vizer, a self-styled reformer, took over SportAccord in 2013 and immediately announced plans for a United World Championships to rival the IOC's Olympic Games.

Those plans, however, never materialised under what he said was IOC pressure.

"Given that this is the answer that I received to my declaration in Sochi and to the proposal of the 20 points agenda... I decided to withdraw from SportAccord and the IOC Coordination Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games," he said.

Vizer, who also heads the International Judo Federation, said he was resigning with honour but fired a parting shot at the IOC.

"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," he added.

The IOC said it was aware of his resignation with SportAccord on the agenda for its next meeting.

"We have been informed of the resignation," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.

"We will continue our ongoing 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." (Editing by Toby Davis)

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