Tamás Aján

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Tamás Aján
Tamás Aján in Tehran.jpg
Aján in Tehran - June 2016
President of the
International Weightlifting Federation
In office
2000 – 15 April 2020
Personal details
Born (1939-01-12) 12 January 1939 (age 82)
Gherla, Romania
NationalityHungarian

Tamás Aján (born January 12, 1939) was the President of the International Weightlifting Federation from 2000 to 2020 and was a member of the International Olympic Committee until 2010.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Gherla (Szamosújvár), Romania into an ethnic Hungarian family. Aján graduated from the Budapest University of Physical Education in 1964 with a Ph.D in physical education.[2] He had a varied career in the Department of Sports and Ministry of Sports and Physical Education, as well as a number of academic posts.

He was the Secretary General of the Hungarian Olympic Committee from 1989 to 2005. From 1975 to 2000 he was Secretary General of the International Weightlifting Federation, and was the Federation's President from 2000 to 2020. As President, he was elected to the IOC in 2000. He also serves as a council member of the World Anti-Doping Agency.[2]

He is also Vice President of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).[2]

In 2010 he received the Olympic Order on February 28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, this is awarded to individuals for particularly distinguished contribution to the Olympic Movement.[1]

Corruption scandal[edit]

In January 2020, an undercover documentary aired on German TV which made serious allegations of financial malpractice and corruption of Anti-Doping Procedures against Aján. This led to him resigning as an IOC honorary member[3] and temporarily stepping aside as president whilst an investigation, headed by professor Richard McLaren, was carried out. In a leaked email after stepping aside, it was alleged that Aján had made 'insults and implicit threats' to IWF interim-president Ursula Papandrea, including to have her arrested. He was also accused of taking part in conference calls, obstructing access to IWF bank accounts, overseeing a bank transfer, conducting “business as usual” with the IWF Secretariat in Budapest and interfering in the timing and venue of Board meetings all when he should not have done.

On 15 April 2020, Aján resigned as President of the International Weightlifting Federation.[4][5] Shortly before he resigned, it was claimed that Aján had withdrawn his annual salary of $413,000 plus a further $7,100 from the accounts of the IWF to his personal accounts, even though he was not authorised to do so.[6]

On 4 June 2020, professor Richard McLaren's independent report was published. The report stated that Aján operated a 'culture of fear' in his pursuit of 'absolute control' of the IWF. Aján was the General Secretary of the IWF between 1975-2000 however, the report said that he was the de facto President without the title during this time. This was demonstrated in 1982 when the IWF headquarters moved from Austria to Aján's country Hungary, despite the fact that the President was Austrian.[7] The culture of fear was so strong that many IWF members refused to co-operate with the investigation and many of Aján's supporters had gained their positions in the IWF's Executive Board through vote-buying and bribes. Aján himself was said to have gained his re-election as President through vote buying on multiple occasions and his own son-in-law was the Director General of the IWF at the time of the investigation. The report stated that nowhere in the IWF constitution is there a position for a Director General as Aján created the position himself in 2014.[8] The reports findings also concluded that Aján personally collected all anti-doping violation fines and that there was around $10.5 million unaccounted for in the IWF's accounts, as well as 41 positive doping tests that were covered up and 130 that were never processed,[9] including two athletes who had won gold and silver medals at world championships. One instance in the report stated that members from the Albanian Weightlifting Federation drove from Tirana to Budapest with nearly $75,000 cash to pay an Anti-Doping fine to Aján so that Albania would not be banned from competing at the 2016 Olympics. Carrying such amounts of money over the border and not declaring it is a violation of Albanian law. All Anti-Doping information was passed to the World Anti-Doping Agency for investigation.[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "IWF President and IOC Honorary Member Tamas Ajan awarded Olympic Order". en.olympic.cn. 2010-03-02. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Mr Tamás Aján". Official Website of Olympic Movement. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  3. ^ "IOC Statement on Tamás Aján - Olympic News". International Olympic Committee. 2020-03-03. Retrieved 2020-04-19.
  4. ^ "Tamás Aján resigns as President of IWF". www.insidethegames.biz. 2020-04-15. Retrieved 2020-04-16.
  5. ^ "IWF Executive Board Accepts Resignation Of IWF President Tamas Ajan". International Weightlifting Federation. 15 April 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  6. ^ https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1097592/weightlifting
  7. ^ INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATOR REPORT TO THE OVERSIGHT AND INTEGRITY COMMISSION OF INTERNATIONAL WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION, Mclaren Global Sport Solutions, Page 27
  8. ^ INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATOR REPORT TO THE OVERSIGHT AND INTEGRITY COMMISSION OF INTERNATIONAL WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION, Mclaren Global Sport Solutions, Page 35
  9. ^ https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1098829/130-weightlifting-samples-hidden
  10. ^ "IWF president Ajan 'corrupt'". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  11. ^ "Weightlifting corruption inquiry condemns behaviour of former President Aján". www.insidethegames.biz. 4 June 2020. Retrieved 2020-06-04.