Sports leaders agree to idea of merging 2 SportAccord bodies

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) International sports federations agreed Wednesday to merge their umbrella body with the organization that runs a major industry convention.

The SportAccord Council, which represents Olympic and non-Olympic sports, would merge with SportAccord Convention next year.

The proposal will be submitted to members at a SportAccord general assembly in the spring of 2016.

Gian-Franco Kasper, the interim chairman of the council, said he was ''convinced we have made a positive step.''

A venue for the 2016 convention has yet to be announced. Dubai pulled out as the original host.

The SportAccord body was thrown into turmoil earlier this year after its leader, Marius Vizer, launched a scathing attack on the International Olympic Committee and its president, Thomas Bach, at the convention in April in Sochi, Russia.

The IOC and dozens of federations withdrew or suspended their membership in SportAccord in protest over Vizer's speech.

Vizer later resigned. Kasper, an IOC member who heads the international ski federation, was named interim leader.

Former International Tennis Federation President Francesco Ricci Bitti took over as head of the convention.

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