FILA apathy hit wrestling: Bubka

IOC member lists reasons for the sports exclusion from Olympics

FILA apathy hit wrestling: Bubka

Wrestling was dropped from the core Olympic programme because the sport is run by a federation with deficient management and no clear rules on how to punish breaches of “ethical norms”, champion pole vaulter and International Olympic Committee member Sergey Bubka said on Wednesday.


Bubka was on the executive board that voted wrestling off the programme from 2020 onwards and relegated the sport to battling seven other candidates for the final remaining slot.

The IOC has not given any reason for the decision, but Bubka outlined the arguments made before the vote, saying wrestling’s governing body FILA lacked important governance structures.

“There are certain significant arguments because as of today there’s no commission for athletes, no administration for decisions of the federation’s executive committee, there’s no women’s committee,” he said. “There are no rules regarding sanctions for the federation’s ethical norms. There are simply statistical data that (breaches) happened.”

He added that the final round of voting saw “eight votes against wrestling in the final round, three against modern pentathlon and three against field hockey”.
Since the decision was announced, two gold-medal winning wrestlers have returned their medals to the IOC and one Bulgarian official has gone on hunger strike. Bubka said dramatic gestures of protest were a mistake and detracted focus from making necessary reforms at FILA.

“I don’t think you need to do that. Today professionals should work to correct those mistakes that were committed,” he said.

“I am confident that wrestling can return because wrestling has ancient traditions, it was on the ancient Olympic programme. So now it’s necessary to work solidly on what’s needed to return and to do everything so that wrestling is on the Olympic programme.”

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