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Raphael Martinetti steps aside as FILA president

PHUKET, Thailand – International media reports today indicate that Raphael Martinetti of Switzerland has stepped aside as the president of FILA, the international wrestling federation.

This leadership change reportedly occurred during the FILA Executive Committee meeting, which held its regularly-scheduled meeting this weekend in Phuket.

President Martinetti decided it was in the best interest of the sport to transition the leadership position of international wrestling. The FILA Bureau is expected to address the new leadership issue during its meetings this weekend.

If accurate, Martinetti had served as the president of FILA since 2002, succeeding Milan Ercegan of the former Yugoslavia, who had served 30 years in this position. He was the sixth president in FILA history.

“USA Wrestling and the international wrestling community wishes to thank Raphael Martinetti for his service and lifelong commitment to the sport,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. “This decision provides international wrestling with an opportunity to change and improve. The sport will now be able to create a fresh new relationship with the International Olympic Committee and address some of the pressing challenges and opportunities facing wrestling.”

Martinetti’s resignation came less than four days after the International Olympic Committee Executive Board recommended that wrestling not be included as a core sport at the 2020 Olympic Games.

No reports have indicated a potential successor for Martinetti.

Prior to assuming his position as president, Martinetti served as the President of the FILA Refereeing Commission. Before that, he served for 12 years as the Secretary for the FILA Refereeing Commission, while also serving as a FILA referee instructor. Before his election, he was also a FILA Vice-President and member of the FILA Executive Committee.

Prior to his election as president, Martinetti served as a technical delegate for the 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games and several Continental and World Championships. Martinetti served as a Category E international referee starting at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.

Martinetti served as the President of the Swiss Federation of Amateur Wrestling for 12 years after serving as the organization's National Technical Director for 12 years. He was named an Honorary President of the Swiss Federation of Amateur Wrestling. As a competitor, Martinetti was a Swiss champion and won several medals at the Swiss national championships in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.
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