12th February 2021

IWF Ethics Panel has little power to vet Election candidates

New ‘eligibility criteria’ introduced by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) ahead of its Elections on 26/27 March give little power to an Independent Ethics and Disciplinary Commission tasked with vetting candidates. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) expressed concerns after a number of long standing members of the IWF Executive Board applied for key positions at the IWF, including from nations that have been banned for failing to detect doping.

The IWF said that it had approved ‘eligibility criteria aimed at ensuring high standards of governance’ following the IOC’s concerns. The new criteria, published by the IWF, firstly explain that the eligibility criteria for the IWF Elections is set out in Rule 8 of the existing IWF Constitution. These set limited controls on who can be nominated.

Under the new criteria, candidates must now prove that:

• they are not bankrupt;
• they are not ‘mentally incapacitated’ under Swiss law;
• they are not an employee of the IWF ‘on whatever terms’;
• they have not been convicted of an offence punishable by four years imprisonment or greater;
• they have not been convicted of a criminal offence involving a minor;
• they have not been banned from being a company Director in the last five years;
• they are no serving a ban of longer than 12 months for any breach of the IWF Constitution or By-Laws or the Olympic Charter;
• they have not been convicted of an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) in the last ten years.

On the above criteria, it appears that most of the announced candidates would pass eligibility checks. However, the Ethics and Disciplinary Commission can decide to reject a candidature if it determines that it may bring the sport of weightlifting into disrepute (see right).

The Sports Integrity Initiative asked the IWF whether rules prohibiting people employed by the IWF ‘on whatever terms’ blocks current Executive Board members from standing for election to the IWF, but did not receive a response. After vetting has taken place by the Independent Ethics and Disciplinary Commission, the IWF will publish its final list of candidates for the upcoming IWF Elections on 24 February. 

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