By Tom Degun

Bernard Lapasset behind Rugby World CupApril 18 - International Rugby Board (IRB) chairman Bernard Lapasset has announced he is standing to be the next President of SportAccord, meaning he will challenge International Judo Federation (IJF) head Marius Vizer for the position.

The 65-year-old from Tarbes in France is the second candidate to declare himself for the SportAccord Presidency after Vizer revealed last month that he will be standing for the role at the SportAccord Convention in St Petersburg next month.

The pair will be battling to replace Dutchman Hein Verbruggen, the controversial former President of the International Cycling Union (UCI) who has held the position since 2004.

Lapasset's candidacy was revealed in a letter sent to International Sport Federations by IRB general secretary Brett Gosper, in which he formally nominates the Frenchman for the Presidency of SportAccord, the umbrella organisation for all Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations as well as organisers of multi-sports games and sport-related international associations.

gosper letterBrett Gosper's letter nominating Bernard Lapasset for the SportAccord Presidency

"On behalf of the International Rugby Board, a full paid up Member of SportAccord, I the undersigned Brett Gosper, General Secretary of the IRB have the honour to nominate and propose the candidature of our President, Mr Bernard Lapasset for the position of SportAccord President at the next election," says Gosper's letter.

"In compliance with Article 31 of the SportAccord Statutes, Mr Lapasset the President of the International Rugby Board has been a member of the Council of the International Rugby Board since 1992 and has been President since 2007."

Gosper has also sent the International Sport Federations Lapasset's vision and aspirations for the role, as well as his platform statement for the position.

"My objective is to support the work of SportAccord in order to benefit its members and to improve its communication with the international community," says Lapasset in his platform statement.

"With stable and diverse financial resources in place, SportAccord should prove effective and innovative in its role as coordinator, partner and contributor.

"My aim is to make SportAccord an indispensable partner for your federations, working with them to develop and grow.

"SportAccord needs to position itself as a top-level organisation, providing support to its members and working alongside them, as an active contributor, towards the realisation of mutual and defined goals."

marius vizerIJF President Marius Vizer will face a challenge from IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset for the Presidency of SportAccord in St Petersburg next month

Lapasset is seen one of the rising stars in the Olympic Movement having spearheaded the successful rugby sevens campaign to join the Rio 2016 Olympics at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Copenhagen in 2009.

He is also seen a likely contender for future IOC membership at the organisation's next Session in Buenos Aires in September and has previously served as vice-president of the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) and President of the Organising Committee for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.

The SportAccord Statutes say that all nominations must be notified in writing 30 days ahead of the meeting where the election will be held.

The elections are set to take in St Petersburg next month on May 31, meaning that the deadline for application is May 1.

As well as Lapasset and Vizer, other potential candidates include International Rowing Federation President Denis Oswald of Switzerland, although he has not formally declared whether or not he will stand.

Ireland's International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid, a close ally of Verbruggen, was seen as the early front runner for the role but he is now unlikely to stand after his reputation was badly damaged by the Lance Armstrong scandal.

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