Marius Vizer, applicant for mondial sport governance
The IFJ President proposes a new organization of world sport, at the risk of rushing the IOC. (c) D.R.
Tomorrow (Friday), the elections for Sports Accord presidency will take place in St-Petersburgt (Russia). Sport Accord ? An organization created at the end of the 60s which brings together 107 sports federations of three different types : the Olympic Federations also members of the International Olympic Comittee, the non Olympic federations admitted by the IOC and the admitted federations. The Chairmen of the 94 international federations (and Jean Todt, FIA president), will elect tomorrow the organization’s chairman. Among the applicants (amongst whom is the French Bernard Lapasset, former president of the French Rugby Federation), the actual International Judo Federation chairman, Marius Vizer, appears to be one the favorites to succeed to Hein Verbruggen. We met him at his office in Budapest. His speech is clear : world sport can’t be the sole privilege if the IOC. Exclusive interview by Olivier Remy.
Mr Vizer, a simple question : why are you applying for the presidency of this body which is not well known within the sporting community, let alone the general public ?
Well that’s one of the reasons ! The answer should come from my predecessors. I won’t be president of a federation that does nothing. What is sure is that Sport Accord represents Olympic and non Olympic federations. It’s an important power that needs to be galvanised. World sports power stands here. It means that world sports organization, concerning competitions, managment… can be decided there, and I’m willing to remodel this organization.
As you describe it, it’s becoming the first world sports organization, what about the IOCs existence ?
I leave that to you. Theoretically, yes, Sport Accord embodies the power of all the federations, continental unions and national federations. I’m not seeking a revolution, or to disrupt the balance if I were to become president. My intention is to put sport where it should be in society, by putting it at the heart of the debate. Today we are just at the beginning of this process. We must be respected and involved in the major decisions for sport at the international level.
What are you going to do right after your election, if you are elected of course ?
I want to suggest a program to globalize sports administration and management, but also the competitions agenda for which we need to think about a global schedule, -in an evolutionary, not revolutionary manner, but in a more concerned way. I also want to suggest a competition called the « reunited world championships », that will bring together olympic and non-olympic sport every four years.
You are cutting across the OG with this idea, aren’t you ?
I don’t see things that way. If the other federation chairmen follow me, we will have the possibility of creating an important project that will help us find funding for the national federations. It’s very important because they get nothing from the international competitions. And yet, all the technicians, referees, managers, athletes and so on come from the national federation which trained them and invested in them. I want this to change.
Are you thinking about a particular globalized funding model ? Under what standards ?
With results, universality and solidarity. I will propose the first « reunited world championships » in 2017 or 2018, for which we need the sponsors we already have to keep on until then. I want to create a world sports bank, insurance, lottery… to create benefits for the international, national federations and continental unions I have already mentioned.
It’s a major project that casts doubt on the IOC existence ?
Of course I intend to work with the IOC to involve them and so that we will be involved in the OG too. From my point of view the coexistence must be harmonious. I hope it’s their point of view too. We work for the same cause - the good of the sport - we are the same family, but I intend to propose an alternative model and the possibility of financing the basis of sport, which will help improve the quality of athletes at the OG.
Will you still be at the head of the IFJ if elected President of Sport Accord?
Yes, it is obvious to me. It will not be easy but I think but I have the time, energy, motivation and the ability to follow both. There are still many things to do in judo.
KARATE HOLDS UP. Ruled yesterday off the shortlist of sports that could make their entry to the Olympic program in 2020 ( chosen are wrestling - for reinstatement, squash and baseball / softball), Antonio Espinos, President of the World Karate Federation (WKF), one of the largest non-Olympic federations, and also considered for a moment as a prospective candidate for president of Sport Accord has made his choice and provides a very strict assessment of the president Hein Verbruggen: "Marius Vizer is the man for the job. I have been a member of the Executive Committee of Sport Accord for six years and for the last three or four years, I have been against President Verbruggen’s decisions which have not completed the Accord’s main goal: to protect the federation members of Sport Accord. He, however, sought by all means to open the door to competing federations, those karate or judo federations which have no legitimacy. I know it is for this reason that Marius Vizer is standing for election as president of Sport Accord in St. Petersburg. We also need to restore the values at the center of everything, so that what he has to say to the Assembly because it is undoubtedly the most powerful vehicle for education of the men and women who will be tomorrow's society. If Vizer becomes president of Sport Accord, it will be with this in mind. "
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