Yet another turn of events has struck International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) governance. The IWF Electoral Congress was scheduled for Dec. 20-21, 2021, during the IWF World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. However, the elections portion of that Congress has been postponed.
According to IWF’s press release, the IWF elections were postponed on Nov. 25, 2021, following an IWF Executive Board meeting. That meeting involved a legal opinion by the IWF Legal commission that “made it clear the proper legal foundations for the planned IWF Elections had not yet been fully complied.” A new date for the IWF Elections has not yet been announced.
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[Related: International Testing Agency Provisionally Suspends 13 Weightlifters Following 2012 Sample Retests]
Current Interim IWF President Dr. Michael Irani stated that the IWF intends to “implement…new governance carefully and in a way that will withstand legal challenge.” For reference, Irani will not be eligible for election as he does not have the backing of British Weight Lifting (BWL), his home country’s federation.
The IWF press release specifically cited the IWF Legal Commission’s finding that the “IWF’s independent Ethics and Disciplinary Commission (EDC) had not yet been ratified by the IWF Congress.” Without the IWF Executive Board’s ratification of the EDC, the EDC couldn’t “properly constitute” the required Eligibility and Determination Panel (EDP) to vet election candidates. The EDC’s recommendation that the EDP’s responsibilities be fulfilled by Sports Resolution, the London-based dispute service, was accepted by the IWF Executive Board.
Sports Resolution issued a statement about “IWF’s inaccurate communications regarding the EDP report” on Nov. 21, 2021. The inaccurate communications in question were the IWF’s claim that the “final list of eligible and ineligible candidates was not delivered to the IWF by the deadline of Nov. 19, 2021.” However, Sports Resolution confirms that its determinations “were communicated to the candidates and the IWF on Nov. 19, 2021.” They stated further that the EDP’s function was performed independently of the IWF “and will not be subject to any interference by IWF bodies or candidates.”
It is unclear if the IWF’s Electoral Congress delay will impact the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision regarding weightlifting’s place on the program for the 2024 Paris or 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Weightlifting already received the most significant reduction in athlete quota of any sport — 76 spots — for the 2024 Paris Games. The IOC Program Commission meeting for the next two Olympic Games is scheduled for Nov. 30, 2021.
Despite the delay of the IWF Election, the General Congress will still meet in Tashkent to discuss the rest of the original agenda planned.
Featured image: @iwfnet on Instagram