BUENOS AIRES – Wrestling’s world governing body was reprimanded for a rules violation in its bid for a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics, its chief confirmed at a news conference in Buenos Aires.
“It was a problem with one letter that was sent from the Japan Wrestling Federation to all national wrestling federations in order to try to help and influence the IOC (International Olympic Committee) members from their countries. But this doesn’t fit with the rules of conduct,” Nenad Lalovic, head of the group, said Friday after confirming a media report earlier in the day.
Japan Wrestling Federation President Tomiaki Fukuda said later that he sent an email to members of the IOC and members of the 177 national wrestling federations. IOC rules explicitly prohibit the sending of such material three weeks prior to the vote, according to The Associated Press.
“I sent an email asking IOC members to continue with wrestling, and I sent an email to the 177 national federations that we continue our lobbying efforts,” Fukuda said. “The Asian federation did the same thing, but they did so within the allotted three-week time period (before the vote). I wasn’t aware of the rule. I meant well, but I’m sorry.”
Wrestling, which was dropped from the list of core Olympics sports in February, is a finalist for the last spot in the 2020 Games, competing against squash and a combined baseball-softball bid. The sport is widely expected to regain its spot in the Olympics when IOC members vote Sunday at the general session in Buenos Aires.
“We were immediately contacted by one of the (national) federations, and we immediately informed the IOC. The IOC didn’t have information; we were the first to have it,” said Lalovic. “Later, we were informed by the IOC that the issue is closed and that we reacted in the right way.”
Fukuda said he was strictly warned of the violation by the sport’s world governing body, known as FILA, immediately after sending the emails.
“I was contacted by FILA and they told me it was an infringement of the rules, and they said they had contacted the IOC about the matter,” he said. “I’ve heard that the IOC has said that this matter is closed.”