United World Wrestling
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2007)|
|Motto||Welcome to the New World of Wrestling|
|Headquarters||Corsier-sur-Vevey, outside of Lausanne, Switzerland|
|Representatives from 174 national federations|
United World Wrestling (UWW) is the international governing body for the sport of amateur wrestling; its duties include overseeing wrestling at the Olympics. It presides over international competitions for various forms of wrestling, including Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling for men and women, as well as others. The flagship event of UWW is the Wrestling World Championships. It was formerly known as the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (French: Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées, FILA), having assumed its current name in September 2014.
Major wrestling disciplines within UWW
Since 2013, UWW has come to set rules and regulations and hold international competitions in the following wrestling styles:
- Greco-Roman wrestling
- Freestyle wrestling
- Women's Freestyle wrestling
- Beach wrestling
- Amateur pankration
Adaptations to the international regulations set by UWW are usually made by each national federation for all national and regional competitions.
Events, activities, and honors
Besides the Summer Olympics, there are also various international competition such as the Commonwealth Games, the Pan-American Games, etc. that have wrestling as an official sport. Also, the Continental Championships and Continental Cups usually take place annual and are regulated by each Continental Committee. Then, there are World Championships that usually take place among the various nations every year (for the senior age category, every year except the year the Summer Olympics are held), and many international tournaments that take place between countries and among wrestlers of the same country (such as the United States Nationals in freestyle and Greco-Roman).
These tournaments encompass a wide variety of age categories and also both genders, but can also take place separately for each gender or for each age category (schoolboys or schoolgirls, cadets, juniors, and seniors).
UWW also sponsors training for athletes in the various wrestling styles at training centers, currently located in Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. The International Wrestling Hall of Fame, located in Stillwater, Oklahoma awards individuals with honors in Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, women's wrestling, and officiating.
Organization and governance
UWW is now based in Corsier-sur-Vevey, outside of Lausanne, Switzerland. The official languages are English and French. UWW is governed by a Congress made up of representatives from each of the 174 national wrestling federations (the nation's governing body for wrestling). National federations that at least govern the two Olympic wrestling styles are admitted as affiliate members. Those national federations that exclusively govern traditional wrestling and other styles can be admitted as associated members. Up to three representatives from each federation may attend the conference, and only one may vote. The Congress meets at least every two years, usually during the Olympic games or during the World Championships that meet between Olympic games. The UWW Congress in turn elects members of the UWW Bureau and the UWW President.
The Bureau serves as the directing and administrating body of UWW. The UWW Bureau is composed of the president, four vice presidents, the Secretary General, 12 other elected members (with two seats reserved for women), the presidents of the five Continental Committees, and an Honorary President who advises but has no vote (currently, Milan Ercegan). Honorary members are also in turn elected to the Bureau but do not vote. The President, the Vice presidents, and the Secretary General make up the Executive Committee. Each of the members represents himself or herself personally and has an individual vote in the Congress. No two members represent the same nationality (exceptions may be made for the President, the two female members, the Continental Committee presidents, and the Honorary President).
The UWW President manages the day-to-day affairs of the organization. The President represents UWW at international meetings, before the International Olympic Committee, and before the general public. The current interim President of UWW is Nenad Lalovic from Serbia who has served in that role since 2013. Bureau members and the President serve for six-year terms and can be reelected. Usually one third of the Bureau members are up for reelection every two years.
A Secretary General is chosen by the bureau for six years and is the secondary director of UWW behind the President, serves as secretary of both the Bureau and the Congress, and maintains healthy communication between the national federations, the Continental Committees, the Commissions, and all the departments of UWW. The current Secretary General is Michel Dusson from France.
There are also auxiliary bodies of UWW. One group of auxiliary bodies is the Continental Committee, made up of each of the national federations on each continent (currently Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Oceania). The Continental Committees are directed by an executive bureau composed of a president, vice president, and 3 other members who all serve for a term of four years. Continental Committees meet at least every two years in the year following the Summer Olympics, in which there is usually the Continental Championship.
Other auxiliary bodies include commissions, which are made of a president, vice president, secretary, and four other members who all serve for four years. Commissions include those dealing with Technical issues; Officiating; Medical Safety and Anti Doping; Promotion; and for Athletes. The members of the commissions are nominated and financially supported by the national federations that they originate from and are generally specialists in the field that the commission supervises.
Pelle Svensson, a former two-time world champion (Greco-Roman 100 kg class) and member of board of FILA from 1990 to 2007, has described FILA as an inherently corrupt organization. During the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Svensson served as chairman of the disciplinary committee of FILA. As he was watching the final in the men's Greco-Roman wrestling 84 kg class between Alexei Michine from Russia and Ara Abrahamian from Sweden, Svensson witnessed how the Russian team leader Mikhail Mamiashvili was giving signs to the referee. When Svensson approached him and informed him that this was not allowed according to the rules, Mamiashvili responded by saying: "you should know that this may lead to your death". Svensson later found proof that the Romanian referee was bribed (according to Svensson the referee had received over one million Swedish krona).
Svensson also spoke out in support of the allegations of corruption during the semifinals in the men's Greco-Roman wrestling 84 kg at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, when (again) Ara Abrahamian lost against Andrea Minguzzi from Italy after a controversial ruling by the referee. It was later reported that the referee of the match, Jean-Marc Petoud from Switzerland, is a first cousin of the current President of FILA Raphaël Martinetti. Abrahamian, who was stripped of his bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics after dropping the medal in protest, has received a level of vindication through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). His protest revolved around a second round bout with Italian Andrea Minguzzi, where a penalty wasn't assessed until after the round had concluded. Abrahamian's coach was denied a chance to review the call via video, and FILA also refused an official protest from the coach. Minguzzi later took gold in the event.
CAS ruled in favor of Abrahamian that in future Olympic matches FILA must have an appeals process that affirms the Olympic Charter in addition to FILA's own rules concerning fair play:
“FILA is required by the Olympic Charter and its own internal rules, to provide a procedure in its rules for an appeal jury (or some equivalent) to hear promptly claims by athletes or others affected that in a competition the relevant officials have not complied with FILA rules and procedures. Article 22 of its Wrestling Rules may provide such a procedure.
If so, FILA should clarify that mechanism. In any event, FILA did not follow Article 22 properly, if at all, or provide any other appropriate appeal mechanism in this case. The Athlete is also entitled to invoke the disciplinary process contemplated by Article 36 of the Constitution.”''
In their ruling, the CAS judges specifically noted the absence of FILA officials at the Abrahamian hearing:
"On 21 August 2008, FILA corresponded with the CAS and indicated it was unavailable to attend the hearing at the proposed time and date. In order to allow the attendance of FILA’s officials at the hearing, the Panel offered a different time that would be suitable to all parties. FILA repeated that it would not attend the hearing."
Inclusion in the Olympics
Because of growing costs, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been under pressure to reduce the number of events and the number of athletes in each summer game. The IOC has adopted a system where "core sports" would continue indefinitely in future Olympics, but "non-core" sports would be selected for inclusion on an Olympic game-by-game basis. Wrestling was one of the 26 core sports. However, following the 2012 London Olympics, the IOC's Executive Committee conducted a study of the 26 core sports in terms of their success at the London Olympics as well as world-wide grassroots support. The study sought to trim one core sport so that starting with the 2020 Olympics, only 25 core sports would continue. On 12 February 2013, the IOC Executive Board voted to recommend that wrestling be dropped as a core sport.
FILA responded with a statement the same day:
FILA was greatly astonished by today's recommendation of the IOC Executive Board not to maintain wrestling among the 25 core sports for the 2020 Olympic Games. FILA will take all necessary measures to convince the IOC Executive Board and IOC members of the aberration of such decision against one of the founding sports of the ancient and modern Olympic Games.
On 15 February, FILA held an emergency meeting and its President, Raphaël Martinetti, asked for a vote of confidence. When only 50% of his Board voted to support him, he resigned as FILA President. Although wrestlers would be able to continue to compete in the World Games, United States wrestlers expressed grave disappointment at the possibility that they could be excluded from future Olympics. Although wrestling includes both men and women in the Olympic Programme, the most aggressive among the advocates for gender equity were concerned that wrestling will be replaced by another sport that includes both genders. Instead, they advocated for the inclusion of netball, a women-only sport.
Subsequently wrestling had to compete with seven other non-core sports - baseball/softball, squash, karate, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and roller sports - for a place in the 2020 Games. On 8 September 2013 the IOC voted to restore wrestling as an Olympic sport for 2020.
Hall of fame
- List of World Champions in Men's Freestyle Wrestling
- FILA Wrestling World Cup
- FILA Wrestling World Championships
- World Beach Wrestling Championships
- List of World Championships medalists in wrestling (freestyle)
- List of World Championships medalists in wrestling (Greco-Roman)
- List of World Championships medalists in wrestling (women)
- List of World and Olympic Champions in Greco-Roman wrestling
- List of World and Olympic Champions in men's freestyle wrestling
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