SportAccord president says Olympics should offer prize money

SportAccord president Marius Vizer was critical of the International Olympic Committee and its reform agenda.
SportAccord president Marius Vizer has been critical of the International Olympic Committee and its reform agenda.

SportAccord president Marius Vizer, whose scathing attack on the International Olympic Committee a month ago has caused an international storm, says the Games should be offering prize money to athletes.

Vizer, who heads the union of Olympic and non-Olympic international sporting federations, has outlined his 20-point agenda in letters to IOC president Thomas Bach and the Association of Summer Olympic International Sports Federations.

The proposals include prize money for athletes at the Games and a call for international federations to get a much greater share of Olympic Revenues.

Vizer, who has been seeking a meeting with Bach in an attempt to clear the air following his IOC criticisms, said there needed to be clear rules, criteria and principles for both the IOC system and membership, as well as the means by which sports are added to the Olympic programme.

There needed to be clarity around the recognition process for all international federations, Vizer said.

He said the new Olympic television channel should be half-owned by all international federations.

Vizer said there should be no discrimination against sports that were not in the Olympic programme, and argued that all non-Olympic sports should be included in all development programmes and opportunities initiated by the IOC.

He said there should be an opportunity for all non-Olympic international federations to demonstrate their sports before or after each Olympic Games, in each Olympic city.

Vizer argued there should be encouragement and full support for multi-sport events outside the Olympics to increase exposure and opportunities for all sports, while ensuring complementary development for the Games.

Vizer’s reform proposals were revealed amid growing unrest among international sporting bodies over his opening address during SportAccord’s annual General Assembly in Sochi, Russia, a month ago.

Vizer launched a wide-ranging attack on the IOC, describing its system as expired, outdated, wrong, unfair and not at all transparent.

“The Olympic Games belong to all of us and we need real reforms,” Vizer told delegates.

Vizer was also critical of Agenda 2020, the major Olympic reform programme that won universal approval among IOC members early last December.

Vizer suggested it hardly brought any real benefit to sport, to international federations, or athletes. “It did not bring about more clear criteria, rules and principles,” he said.

Vizer’s remarks have resulted in a growing number of international federations, particularly those associated with the Olympics, suspending their membership, among them the FEI.

FEI president Ingmar De Vos, commenting on his organisation’s withdrawal, said: “The FEI, alongside many other international sports federations and the Association of Summer Olympic International Sports Federations, will seek full clarity regarding SportAccord’s role and mission, including a review of SportAccord’s governance and management.”

The FEI’s membership of SportAccord will be discussed by the FEI Bureau during its June 9 meeting.

Vizer has insisted he does not have a personal agenda, saying that unity was paramount.

“My statement in Sochi … was meant to launch proper reforms that would result in a better future for sport.

“My intention has been and will always be to safeguard and further the interests of the international federations. My aim is to unite them and support them.”

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