SportAccord's Vizer issues 20-point plan for talks with IOC

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LONDON (AP) — As more sports cut ties with his umbrella association, SportAccord chief Marius Vizer issued a 20-point plan Thursday for discussions with the IOC — including prize money for Olympic athletes and a 50 percent stake for federations in the new Olympic television channel.

In a clear sign that he is not backing down in his confrontation with the IOC, Vizer also proposed that all non-Olympic sports be given a demonstration slot before or after each games in the host cities and that all federation leaders — like himself — be granted IOC membership "without discrimination."

Vizer released his "reform agenda" as four more sports federations — rugby, table tennis, equestrian and curling — suspended ties with SportAccord in protest over his attacks on the International Olympic Committee last month. At least 16 Olympic sports have now suspended or withdrawn their SportAccord membership.

Vizer wrote to IOC President Thomas Bach this week asking for a meeting with him to clear the air "for the benefit and the unity of the sports movement." Bach replied Wednesday that he would discuss the invitation with his executive board next month.

SportAccord represents a group of about 100 Olympic and non-Olympic federations.

Vizer, who also heads the international judo federation, has been increasingly isolated since delivering a strongly-worded speech blasting Bach and the IOC at the opening of the SportAccord convention in Sochi, Russia.

Among other things, Vizer called the IOC system "expired, outdated, wrong, unfair and not at all transparent" and said Bach's "Olympic Agenda 2020" reform program was of little use to the federations.

Vizer sent his 20-point plan to Bach, as well as Association of Summer Olympic International Federations president Francesco Ricci Bitti and the heads of all international federations.

Vizer's plans are unlikely to receive a warm welcome from Bach.

Vizer's most radical proposal is for the introduction of prize money at the Olympics. The IOC holds up the Olympics as being unique, with athletes participating out of pride and in the spirit of competition and without prize money, distinct from world championships and other major events.

Vizer has been critical of the IOC's plans, approved in December, for the creation of a year-round Olympic channel. The Madrid-based digital channel, which is scheduled to be launched next April to promote Olympic sports in the years between the games, will cost $600 million over the first seven years.

Vizer said Thursday the channel should be owned 50 percent "directly by all IFs," referring to the federations. Under the current IOC model, federations are paying a share of $80 million toward the total cost of the channel.

Vizer also weighed in on the Olympic sports program, which the IOC has turned into an event-based system. The Olympics currently has 28 sports on the summer program, with the IOC allowing more flexibility and giving host cities the chance to add one or more sports for their games only.

Vizer's agenda includes "allowing all non-Olympic IFs a slot to demonstrate their sport before or after each Olympic Games, in each Olympic city." The IOC did away with demonstration sports years ago.

Among Vizer's other proposals:

— Allowing voting IOC members to visit Olympic bid cities based on "clear ethical principles." Member visits have been banned since 1999 after the Salt Lake City vote-buying scandal.

— Increasing the share of Olympic revenues granted to federations to 25 percent of the total, with 5 percent paid directly to national federations.

— Granting IOC membership to an elected representative from each Olympic federation "without discrimination." Vizer is known to be bitter at not being given IOC membership despite his leadership of the judo federation.

— Allowing bid cities to present their case to Olympic and non-Olympic federations. Vizer was unhappy when the IOC barred bid cities from making presentations at the SportAccord meeting in Sochi.

— Giving "encouragement and full support" to multi-sports events outside the Olympics. Vizer has been rebuffed by the IOC in his plans to organize a "United World Championships" for all federations every four years, a potential challenge to the Olympics.


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