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  • SportAccord Chief Verbruggen Not Setting Timetable for Succession


    Hein Verbruggen is SportAccord president as well as an honorary IOC member and former president of the International Cycling Union. (ATR)
    (ATR) SportAccord president Hein Verbruggen tells Around the Rings he may continue leading the umbrella organization for international federations for at least another year because he has unfinished business to complete before standing down.

    Since receiving the backing of the seven-member SportAccord executive council in November to stay on and then communicating this to all member federations, Verbruggen told ATR he has been asked by some IFs to see out his mandate to 2015.

    "A number of people have said they want me to go to the end," he said.

    "I do not think I will go on to the end of my mandate," Verbruggen added, noting that he had expressed a desire to step down ahead of the SportAccord conference in London in April 2011. When no candidates came forward, he was elected by acclamation for another term.

    "In London I have said since no one is coming forward to be president I will start looking around myself in the coming years," Verbruggen said.

    Last November, it emerged that International Judo Federation president Marius Vizer had sent a letter to Verbruggen nominating himself to succeed him. Vizer said he would be willing to take over the presidency "as early as next year [2012]" if Verbruggen decided to step aside.

    After news of Vizer's letter broke, Verbruggen told ATR that he had no intention to step down and hold an election at the 2012 general assembly in Quebec.
    IJF president Marius Vizer. (ATR)

    Instead, the executive council took note of Vizer's interest in becoming a candidate but encouraged Verbruggen to stay on to complete what the Dutchman termed "a number of important projects".

    The 70-year-old former UCI president now tells ATR he has received no further interest from federation leaders wanting to fill his shoes when he decides the time is right to quit.

    "There are no candidates at all, only requests for me to stay on," he said.

    With 2012 and 2013 set to be busy years in the development and finetuning of SportAccord's multisport Games, all the signs now point to Verbruggen staying put until 2014.

    Not only is he bidding to build on the success of the inaugural Beijing Mind Games launched in December by staging another one at the end of 2012, he's also busy overseeing several other events.
    SportAccord's inaugural Combat Games featured 13 martial arts and combat sports, both Olympic and non-Olympic. (Getty Images)

    Verbruggen said SportAccord was planning to hold the first Artistic Games, combining sport and music, in spring 2013. Several Chinese cities are interested in hosting, including Hangzhou. Negotiations are still taking place.

    He is also negotiating with cities in Brazil to stage the inaugural Beach Games next year. The second Combat Games is now slated to be held in St. Petersburg in late 2013.

    Verbruggen will give updates on the events as well as SportAccord's other activities at the AGM in Quebec in May.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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