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A major schism between International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and his SportAccord counterpart Marius Vizer was made public for the first time here today.

Vizer used his opening speech at SportAccord's General Assembly to accuse Bach of trying to block projects he has tried to introduce, criticised the launch of the Olympic TV Channel as a waste of money and accused the IOC of lack of transparency and claimed that Agenda 2020 had brought "hardly any benefit" to sport.

Vizer also called for International Federations to be given a greater say in the future of the IOC and for a fairer distribution of money.

Bach reteliated by claiming Vizer's views were out of step with the International Federations, who make up SportAccord, the umbrella organisation for all Olympic and non-Olympic sports.

The exchange laid bare the animosity between Bach and Vizer, an open secret in the Olympic world for several months now.

"After becoming SportAccord President, I always tried to develop a constructive collaboration with the IOC and with President Bach," Vizer told nearly 200 delegates, including Association of National Olympic Committees President Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, a key ally of both men, gathered here.

"A collaboration based on respect towards the Olympic Movement, its members and the values in which I believe. Unfortunately, it never became reality.

"I made a number of proposals in favor and for the benefit of IFs and SportAccord but we have never received a positive reaction. Mr. President, stop blocking the SportAccord strategy in its mission to identify and organise conventions and multi-sport games.".

The hostility between the two men dates back to Vizer's proposal more than two years ago to launch the United World Games, an event that would combine the major championships of several sports in the same country during the same period.

It is an event that Bach fears threatens to undermine the uniqueness of the Olympics.

Vizer's plan has never moved beyond the drawing board but has led to a wound being opened which will clearly never be healed.

Vizer, who is also President of the International Judo Federation, has since privately claimed Bach has tried to block him at every opportunity by trying to block countries hosting some of the multi-sport Games he is planning to introduce to the calendar and warning sports they risked their place on the Olympic programme if they support him.

Vizer also believes that Bach has set out to undermine the SportAccord Convention, his organisation's main fundraising event of the year, by preventing cities bidding for the Olympics from making presentations and by withdrawing a meeting of the IOC's ruling Executive Board which has always been held alongside the event since it was first launhed in 2003.  

"The voting for potential host cities of the Olympic Games is compromised," Vizer said.

"Key stakeholders are excluded from making informed decisions when selecting Olympic host cities: the bid cities cannot present their candidatures at SportAccord Convention to all stakeholders, IOC members cannot visit bid cities and during the IOC Session, when the vote takes place, IF presidents - who are organisers of the Olympic Games, are obliged to leave the room."

In a wide-ranging attack, Vizer also hit out at Agenda 2020, Bach's great reform of the Olympic Movement designed to make it a more modern and tranpsarent organisation and claimed that the International Federations had not been consulted fully.

"The Agenda 2020 was promoted as a platform, which would bring reforms to the world of sport and benefits for all stakeholders," he said.

"However, the interests of the International Federations were not properly addressed.

"The Agenda 2020 hardly brings any real benefit to sport, to IFs, or athletes.

"It did not bring about more clear criteria, rules and principles.

The Olympic TV Channel, one of the key proposals of Agenda 2020, was dismissed as having no clear business plan and strategy and was criticised for spending more than $450 million.

"The launch of an Olympic channel was very surprising," said Vizer.

"The IOC Members voted in December 2014, in the IOC Session, unilaterally, without a clear business plan, a commercialisation plan and project, to reduce the dividends to International Federations in order to establish the Olympic Channel.

"Leaving from the premise that the Olympic Movement has the assets, any business project in the world needs a business plan, investors, professional partners, breakeven points, strategy, consultation with stakeholders - International Federations and to generate a benefit for all stakeholders.

"Only after the decision it appears that a plan is in process.

"At the same time, the cost of more than $450 million to establish a digital channel seems exaggerated.

"Do consult us as stakeholders of the Olympic Movement regarding all the proposals, contracts and partnerships that are being signed and make them transparent.

Vizer also criticised the amount of money host cities spend on Cermonies at Olympics.

"Why invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Opening and Cosing ceremonies, while millions of athletes live in hunger and they don’t stand a chance in sport due to the lack of proper conditions?" he said.

"If indeed the IOC distributes $3.25 million a day, every day of the year, for the development of sport worldwide, why do millions of athletes suffer and cannot enjoy or reach performances in sport?

"Together, SportAccord and IOC must find a solution to compensate National Federations and athletes from their events.

"Today, the money invested in sport never reaches the athletes and their families.

"SportAccord and the International Federations are already providing prize money to their athletes in competitions, in an effort to compensate for this."

Vizer also said that the International Federations should hold the balance of power when it came to making decisions within the IOC rather than people not directly involved with sport.

"According to the Olympic Charter, the total number of IOC Members may not exceed 115, out of which only 45 are the ones directly involved in sport: 15 representatives of the IFs, 15 of the NOCs, 15 of the athletes," said Vizer, who is not an IOC member.

"This minority is the real royalty of the sport.

"In spite of this, during any vote, they can never determine change.

"In order to protect the real interests of sport, the majority of votes should belong to people in functions or offices related directly to sport."He also claimed serving Presidents should not be subject of age-limits, forcing them to give up their membership of the IOC when they reach the age of 70.

"The IOC system is expired, outdated, wrong, unfair and not at all transparent," said Vizer.

"The Olympic Games belong to all of us and we need real reforms."

Bach was clearly taken abck by Vizer's attack - which officials claimed he had no pre-warning of - and claimed that many of the International Federations, several of them headed by IOC members, had contributed to Agenda 2020 and supported the proposals.

"My impression is your opinion you have exclusively for you," said Bach, direclty Vizer.

He spent much longer than the original five minutes he had been allocated.

"I have been a little longer after this friendly welcome," he told delegates.

"What we need altogether is credibility.

"This credibility we can only achieve if we have unity in our diversity.

"I invite you to bring your diverse opinions to the table but then be united in our concerted effort."

Bach, however, faced another broadside from Vizer when he sat down afterwards.

"If you want to be respected, you have to be prepared to be fair," Vizer told him.

Long-time Olympic watchers compared this incident to what happened more than 30 years when Thomas Keller, then head of the President of the General Association of International Sports Federations, the forerunner to SportAccord, insisted that the International Federations should be the most important members of the Olympic Family.

That brought him into conflict with Juan Antonio Samaranch, then starting his 20-plus year reign as IOC President, who outmanoeuvred him as he brought the Olympic Movement back from the brink of bankruptcy and helped turn it into the hugely successful organisation it is today.

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