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  • Whistle-blowers Say Brazil Sport Must 'Clean House'


    10/05/17

    (ATR) A new Brazilian Olympic Committee President has been appointed in the wake of Carlos Nuzman’s arrest, but whistle-blowers tell Around the Rings the committee needs wholesale governance reforms.

    Carlos Nuzman speaking to ANOC last year (ATR)
    Paulo Wanderley, President of the Brazilian Judo Confederation, assumed the presidency of the COB after Nuzman’s arrest. Wanderley, a COB vice-president, per the committee statutes.

    Nuzman’s arrest is a temporary order for five days but may be extended by a judge, according to media reports. If Nuzman and Wanderley are unable to fulfill the position of COB President, then a senior executive board member will assume the presidency for 30 days before new elections are held. Nuzman's sixth term as COB President runs through the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

    Eric Maleson, former president of the Brazilian ice sports confederation, sent numerous letters to IOC Presidents Jacques Rogge and Thomas Bach regarding illegal activities in the COB. He told ATR that the arrest of Nuzman represents “a very sad day,” for Brazilian sport, but represents an opportunity for the committee to start fresh.

    Requests for comment about the situation from the COB were not returned.

    In order to reform the Brazilian NOC Maleson says that the bylaws of the organization must be changed to allow for more candidates and truly democratic elections. Currently only the presidents of 29 international sport federations can vote for a president, and only 10 votes are needed to call an assembly. Maleson says change is unlikely to come since none of the federation presidents have spoken out about the situation. He says they are all allies of Nuzman.

    “Right now our credibility is below zero,” Maleson said. “This is an opportunity to start fresh, but that can only happen if two things happen, the number one is if they change the bylaws of the committee. After that is new elections but before those two things happen we must have intervention because the people there that are right now in the command and the power are close to Nuzman.

    “So to expect these people to correct themselves is impossible," says Maleson.

    Earlier today Maleson sent another email to IOC President Bach, seen by ATR, asking for the body “to immediately take action and intervene at the Brazilian Olympic Committee”. The email was sent along to IOC doyen Richard Pound, Jérôme Poivey head of institutional relations and governance  and assistant to IOC deputy director Pere Miro.

    Maleson’s comments were echoed by Sao Paolo lawyer Alberto Murray Neto who runs the Sylvio de Magalhães Padilha Sports Foundation, which fights corruption in Brazilian sport. The foundation carries the name of the IOC member in Brazil who preceded Nuzman, who was Neto's grandfather.  Neto has been a constant critic of Nuzman and tells ATR that the current episode shows the need for more democratized elections in the COB.

    “The bylaws provides that for anyone to be candidate for president, or vice president of COB must be at least for five years within the elected powers of COB,” Neto said in an email. “This means that only members that are in the entity for at least five years could be a candidate in next election, which would happen after Tokyo.

    “I am of the opinion that the bylaws should be changed and democratized, as more people, such as athletes could have the right of vote. The right of candidacies should also be opened," says Neto.

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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