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McLaren Report Aftermath: IWF Reform, ITA Investigation

Member federations seek transparency with new reforms.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) shared a press release on Thursday discussing “key steps (that) have been taken to lay the foundation for future progress.” These steps follow the revelations made by Professor Richard McLaren’s report that investigated allegations of financial corruption and an anti-doping coverup led by former IWF President Tamas Aján.

The report determined that Aján established an “autocratic authoritarian leadership” to disable anyone other than himself from “understanding the overall affairs of the IWF.” This included maintaining an ill-informed Executive Board, assembled from coordinated election fraud, from providing proper oversight. It enabled Aján to create a financial control mechanism described in the report as a “tyranny of cash” and a total of $10.4 million to go unaccounted for without a paper trail.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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[Related: Phil Andrews talks international weightlifting and the McLaren report on the BarBend podcast]

First Steps

According to the press release, the first step is uncovering any further potential wrongdoing that has yet to be revealed by disseminating the report and associated evidence to relevant organizations. In addition, the IWF committed to establishing “best possible governance practices.”

Some of the organizations named were:

  • International Olympic Committee (IOC)
  • World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
  • International Testing Agency (ITA)
  • Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF)
  • Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF)

The former acting, now interim IWF President Ursula Garza-Papandrea said:

“Our desire to uncover truth means we must now acknowledge and address the known. The findings also afford the IWF the opportunity to rebuild and reform the organization. This is not an option but an absolute necessity.” 

Tamas Ajan
Image via EnglishWeightlifting’s Twitter: @englishlifting

Anti-Doping

The report did relieve the Hungarian National Anti-Doping Agency (HUNADO) of any wrongdoing after determining the doping manipulation allegations made against them in the German documentary The Lord of the Lifters were false

However, the sport of weightlifting has been riddled with doping scandals and has the looming threat of losing their spot at the Olympic Games, according to the IOC President Thomas Bach.

The press release states that work (unspecified) toward governance reform at both the constitutional and operational levels has begun.

“McLaren’s report revealed a number of instances where the IWF’s governance fell well short of that deserved by athletes, member federations, fans and everyone involved in the sport.”

Moving Foward

Papandrea is prioritizing corrective measures by working on “a new Constitution and by-laws with assistance from independent professionals from ASOIF.” The timeframe for completion was not given.

The Oversight and Integrity Commission (OIC) has committed that member federations’ desire for independence and transparency in the process will be applied.

Feature image via EnglishWeightlifting’s Twitter: @englishlifting

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