May 8 - Raffaele Chiulli, President of the International Powerboating Union (UIM), has said "may the best win" in the SportAccord Presidential race as International Rugby Board (IRB) chairman Bernard Lapasset and International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer go head to head for the position.
The pair will stand against each other for the role at the SportAccord International Convention in St Petersburg on May 31 as they battle to replace Dutchman Hein Verbruggen, the controversial former President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), who has held the position since 2004.
And the head of the international governing body of powerboating (pictured top) explained that whoever takes on the role to lead SportAccord will have his "full respect and loyal support".
"I do believe that it is good to have more than one candidate to the SportAccord Presidency," Chiulli, who is currently running for Presidency of the ARISF (Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations), told insidethegames.
"I am sure that it is going to be a fair competition and as we say just before one of our races starts 'may the best win'.
"SportAccord being the umbrella organisation for all Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations and of multi-sports games is a key stakeholder we will have to deal with and I am sure that at the end of the race the best one will win and he will have my full respect and loyal support."
Chiulli also said both candidates represented "good options", explaining that Vizer's election manifesto is an "attractive one" for the future of SportAccord, while Lapasset has proved to be a "respected person".
"I have discussed with Marius Vizer his programme and I believe it is an attractive one for the future of SportAccord," he explained.
"I did not have so far the chance to discuss with Mr Lapasset his programme.
"However, in his organisation he proved to be a respected person."
Vizer unveiled the core elements of his manifesto, which includes a radical plan for all the sports to hold a united world championships once every four years, while making the point that this event will not be a direct competitor to the Olympics, earlier this year - something Chiulli says is "encouraging".
"He is delineating that in case he will be elected the international sport federations are going to be the real focus, in full convergence and cooperation with the Olympic Movement," he added.
"This is something really good to hear for us as Presidents of international sport federations."
At the 2012 SportAccord International Convention in Québec City, Verbruggen announced he would step down from his role at SportAccord this year despite being re-elected for another four-year term in 2011, which would have seen him remain in office until 2015.
And while Chiulli declined to comment or make judgements on the 71-year-old, who is facing allegations that he was central to the cover-up that allowed Lance Armstrong to dope during all seven of his Tour de France victories - an accusation he vehemently denies, he did say his resignation came as something of a surprise.
"Last year's announcement that Mr Verbruggen, who has held the position since 2004, would step down in 2013 was somehow unexpected," he admitted.
"I am sure that the new President will lead with his own style and personality."
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