Federation Focus: Judo Tension, FINA Executive Changes, Rugby World Cup Postponed

Pandemic delay for Rugby Women's World Cup, Paris Judo Grand Slam in flux...Retirement for FINA veteran.

Women’s Rugby World Cup Delay

World Rugby is ready to postpone until next year the Women’s World Cup planned for September to October in New Zealand.

In a statement World Rugby says the uncertainty imposed by the coronavirus pandemic is forcing the change. The board of directors for the federation will meet March 7 to confirm the decision. No dates are proposed yet, but are expected to match the timetable planned for 2021, the transition of the Southern Hemisphere from winter into spring.

Already qualified for the tournament: New Zealand, Australia, Wales, Canada, United States, England, France, South Africa and Fiji. Three more slots are open for other teams to qualify.

Cornel Marculescu Retires at FINA

After 35 years as FINA executive director, Cornel Marculescu is ready to retire. He turns 80 this year. The FINA Bureau met virtually today to accept his resignation. Named as interim executive director is Marculescu's assistant Marcela Saxlund Medvedev. Media director Pedro Andrega will be interim assistant executive director. Both arre 20 year veterans at FINA, Both positions are effective March 4.

A one-time water polo star for Romania, Marculescu opened FINA’s first office in Lausanne in 1986.

ASOIF to Hold Virtual General Assembly

This year’s annual gathering of members of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) will be organized virtually on June 8.

The ASOIF Council said the decision was due to the ongoing pandemic.

The move could be a sign that SportAccord, scheduled to run from May 23-28 in Ekaterinburg, Russia, might also be subject to a change in plans. ASOIF is one of the major stakeholders in SportAccord and the ASOIF General Assembly is usually held alongside SportAccord.

A spokesman for Sport Accord says discussions about the event are ongoing with Russian organizers "to jointly assess all possibilities and options with the number 1 priority remaining the safety and security of our delegates and Stakeholders involved."

Meeting virtually this week, the ASOIF Council agreed to present a proposal at the upcoming General Assembly that would require any member federation to have both genders represented if it is sending the maximum number of three delegates to any future General Assembly.

The Council discussed arrangements for the fourth ASOIF review of IF governance and endorsed the launch of a pilot study on organizational culture within IFs.

"It’s important to have rules and regulations in place, but we all know that the behavior and actions of people play a large role in how an organization really functions. Our new pilot study on organizational culture is a complex exercise but we are convinced that the outcomes will be highly beneficial to our member federations," ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said in a statement.

IJF Considers Next Steps Against Iran

The International Judo Federation (IJF) says it is considering what further action and decisions will be taken after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) cancelled the IJF’s unlimited suspension of the Iranian judo federation.

CAS agreed that the Iranian federation had "committed severe violations" of IJF rules for ordering judoka Saeid Mollaei not to fight against an Israeli at the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo.

The problem, according to the CAS panel, is "that the kind of sanction (unlimited suspension) imposed in the challenged decision of 22 October 2019 had no legal basis in the IJF regulations".

CAS has sent the matter back to the IJF Disciplinary Commission to adjust the punishments so they are compliant with the international federation’s rules.

The IJF also noted the CAS decision that the Iranian federation must pay CHF 5,000 ($5,459) to the IJF as contribution to the latter’s fees and expenses.

French Judo Upset Over Grand Slam Decision

The decision to drop plans for the IJF Grand Slam event in Paris in May has been met with disappointment by French organizers. The International Judo Federation informed the French federation this week that Kazan, Russia will now host the event. The IJF says it had little choice after the French federation failed to sign and return the contract for the event, a staple on the Paris sports calendar for years.

The IJF says the French are welcome to try to organize a Grand Slam in the autumn. And it is offering the 2022, 2023 and 2024 Grand Slams to Paris on the traditional dates for the event in February.

Emirate of Fujairah to Host Annual Boxing Tourney

An annual international boxing tournament will be organized by the Emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates beginning in May of this year.

International boxing federation (AIBA) President Umar Kremlev and Fujairah Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi agreed to the deal during Kremlev’s visit to the Emirate.

The development of boxing in the Middle East and specifically Fujairah was discussed during their meeting.

‘I am grateful for a productive meeting and new perspectives for boxing in the Middle East. Sports events will provide a stream of tourism. It will be convenient for athletes to fly here due to good visa conditions. With the personal support of Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, we will popularize our sport among young people, more champions will appear,’ Kremlev said.

Tokyo 2020 Table Tennis Spots Available in Qatar

Nine table tennis qualification places for the Tokyo Olympics will be available later this month in Doha, Qatar.

Four spots for men and five for women will be up for grabs at the World Singles Qualification Tournament (WSQT) from March 14-17.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) said the number of available spots was determined by a host of factors, including the latest update of the 2021 calendar and current planning of pending qualification events.

A total of 73 men and 60 women have entered the WSQT so far.

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Written by Gerard Farek

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