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Statement by the IOC regarding the situation of the IWF

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The IOC is very worried to learn about the reported decision made by the Board of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to replace the Acting President, Ms Ursula Garza Papandrea, the way the decision was taken and the chosen replacement. The IOC enjoyed excellent cooperation with her during her time in office, and is fully supportive of the reforms she has initiated in the IWF. Currently the IOC has not received all the information to fully assess the situation in its entirety.

This incident and its consequences will, of course, be taken into consideration by the IOC Executive Board (EB) when it comes to take further decisions.

At its meeting last week, the IOC EB stressed the critical importance of continuing reforms within the IWF in order to ensure the independence of its anti-doping operations and the modernisation of its governance and management structures. With regard to anti-doping, while noting that the IWF has appointed the International Testing Agency (ITA) to independently manage all elements of its anti-doping programme, including following up on the allegations made in the report by Prof. McLaren, the IOC EB stressed two important points:

  • the importance of maintaining the link, in the IWF’s Tokyo 2020 qualification system, between the quota places available for each National Olympic Committee (NOC) and their history of doping offences on the one hand; and
  • the need to ensure the independence of the IWF anti-doping system beyond the present contract with the ITA – which is due to expire at the end of 2020 – as well as the delegation of disciplinary proceedings to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), on the other hand.

With regard to governance, the IOC EB noted the positive commitments previously made. It expressed strong concerns about the need for further progress to reform the IWF constitution ahead of the potential IWF elections, and any lack of acceptance of independent advice in this procedure.

Another point reiterated during the EB meeting was the importance of athletes’ representation within all appropriate commissions and committees of the Federation.

These areas of concern were communicated to the IWF. The Federation was also informed that the IOC, while currently reviewing the event programme and athlete quotas for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, would reserve the right to take further measures depending on any future developments, including, but not limited to, a review of the place of weightlifting on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and consideration of the Paris 2024 event programme and athlete quotas, which will be determined in December 2020.

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