IWF Congress Approves ITA and WADA Proposals But Much Work Remains

(ATR) With weightlifting's Olympic future at stake, an agreement on a new constitution remains elusive.

(ATR) Although ratification of a new constitution was postponed, the extended first day of the International Weightlifting Federation's Constitution Reform Congress led to the approval of all proposals from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Testing Agency.

This virtual convocation with 119 National Federations lasted about nine hours. The IWF has 192 members, 142 of which have the right to vote.

Among the approved anti-doping amendments proposed by WADA and the ITA are that a member federation may be sanctioned if three or more of its athletes or athlete support personnel are found guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) within any 12-month period. It is no longer necessary to determine whether a member federation in question suffers from "systemic doping" problems.

Also that no member of the IWF Executive Committee may be appointed to the Ethics and Disciplinary Commission, the Independent Monitoring Group or the Independent Member Federation Sanction Panel.

A maximum of two IWF Executive Committee members may be appointed to each of the following areas: Development and Education Commission, Gender Equality Commission, Legal Commission, Governance Commission and Anti-Doping Commission.

In addition, it was approved that the jurisdiction to sanction a member federation rests with the Independent Member Federation Sanctions Panel (IMFSP) instead of the IWF Congress to avoid double sanctions and legal difficulties.

According to the IWF statement these WADA and ITA proposals were approved with the required two-thirds majority.

The IWF stated that the draft constitution was "discussed at length" and that "the majority of Member Federations agreed that the draft constitution should serve as the basis for the future governance of the IWF".

According to this statement the Congress was postponed "in view of the abundant material to be considered" and will resume before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to open on July 23. However, it is not ruled out that a better date for the "second half" of the Congress will be set for after the Olympic Games.

Federation officials from different regions commented that in the days to come the main focus would be on guaranteeing the last moments of preparation of their weightlifters and on the details of their safe transfer to the Tokyo venue in the midst of the restrictions due to Covid-19.

Several of them defended the possibility that a new date could allow the second part of the Congress to be held in person after several problems with connectivity faced by some federations, which became more problematic due to the long duration of the event.

For the resumption of the Congress, other important issues such as eligibility of members, representation of athletes, and the search for advice, could occupy a new analysis to complete the debate on the draft of the new Constitution that will determine the future of this sport in the Olympic Program.

On this occasion 55 member federations voted against the adoption of the draft as originally conceived.

In an opinion solicited by Around the Rings, Phil Andrews, executive director of USA Weightlifting, stated: "Yesterday, a majority of IWF Member Federations agreed that the draft constitution orated by the Reform Commission led by Australia’s Darren Kane can form the basis for a new constitution.

"We hope that this adjournment will allow further progress to be made to arrive at the reform required by the IOC, by our athletes and those who wish to see us remain an Olympic sport."

The IOC has repeatedly warned that the federation must engage in significant governance reforms as well as ending the chronic doping and corruption that has marred the sport or face penalties including the removal of the sport from the Paris 2024 program.

Homepage photo: Global Athlete

Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez

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