The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) president Francesco Ricci Bitti on Monday told SportAccord – the union of federations for both Olympic and non-Olympic sports – that it is not necessary for Olympic sports.
According to a report by Olympic news site Around the Rings, Ricci Bitti wrote to SportAccord president Marius Vizer and ASOIF’s members on Monday, describing SportAccord as “redundant and confusing" and confirming that ASOIF will suspend its participation in ASOIF meetings.
The move is a reaction to Vizer’s outspoken verbal attack on the International Olympic Committee at SportAccord Convention in April.
Since then, nine international federations have suspended their association with SportAccord, with the International Triathlon Union the latest to do so.
“If we could find a positive side to what happened in Sochi, it is that you have triggered a clarification process that was both necessary and long overdue regarding the relationship between our associations vis-a-vis our common members,” Ricci Bitti told Vizer in the letter.
The letter goes on to make it clear that ASOIF members do not need SportAccord membership.
“What has never been felt necessary or desirable by the preponderance of our association is for there to be an additional ‘umbrella’ organisation that pretends to speak, often without consultation, on behalf of our members collectively.
“To put it plainly, the reality is that the concept of a second collective umbrella organisation is considered redundant and confusing and unwanted by our membership.”
ASOIF will continue to work with other groups of international federations, the letter says, “because we acknowledge a need for all of us to work together in some specific activities that can bring added value such as the SportAccord Convention where ASOIF, as a major shareholder, is ready to play its full part."
Ricci Bitti’s letter also asks SportAccord Convention, which is a distinct organisation to SportAccord, “to confirm that it will respect the role of the shareholders by following principles of good governance including their participation in the decision-making process through appropriate engagement and consultation."
ASOIF will no longer participate in the SportAccord Council, Ricci Bitti said, withdrawing the participation of its two members “pending a full formal review leading to clarification and agreement on the future role, mission and constitution of SportAccord."