As revealed today by the website Insidethegames.biz, the Ethics committee of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) banned vice-president Luciano Rossi for three years from the world's sport shooting governing body
Unexpected news released today by the website insidethegames.biz seem to have the potential to shake the world of shooting sports: the website claims to have been able to see an internal communication in which Luciano Rossi, vice-president of the International Shooting Sport Federation, reports to member federations to have been given a 36-months (three years) suspension and an undisclosed fine by the Ethics Committee of the ISSF, the body that governs the world of international sport shooting.
Luciano Rossi is an important name in shooting sports: long-standing president of FITAV – the Italian clay shooting federation – he is also a sitting executive member of the World Forum on Shooting Activities.
The ruling of the ethics committee closes a proceeding started back in June last year, when Rossi was accused of using Tokyo 2020 shooting sports changes to support his own political bid to ISSF presidency.
Double trap, 50 metres pistol and 50m rifle competitions were replaced by the mixed team events in 10m air rifle, 10m air pistol and trap to adhere to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) gender equality rules.
According to the claims against Rossi, the Italian orchestrated a plan to hold an Extraordinary General Assembly to discuss the alterations to the sport's programme at Tokyo 2020, so he could lobby the membership as part of his campaign to run for President.
Among Rossi's accusers were the incumbent ISSF President, Olegario Vázquez Raña, and Russian tycoon Vladimir Lisin, current President of the European Shooting Confederation (ESC) and co-sitting ISSF vice-president.
On May 17th, Lisin has been named as prefered candidate for ISSF presidency by Raña, who is due to step down this year after 38 years at the helm of the governing body.
No other candidates have yet emerged to challenge Lisin, and at this point, any presidential bid by Rossi is to be considered virtually defunct.
It is not yet clear exactly which of the allegations Rossi was found guilty of by the Ethics Committee – comprised of lawyers independent from the ISSF – although Rossi was the focus of many accusations amid a bitter feud present throughout the ISSF last year, including a conflict of interest for being a major shareholder of a company (Eurotarget) which makes clay targets used in double trap shooting.
He was also accused of "spreading misinformation" after he circulated a letter which claimed secretary general Franz Schreiber and fellow vice-president Gary Anderson had held secret talks with the IOC about the possible introduction of laser guns in lieu of firearms and airguns in olympic shooting – a move which many shooting enthusiast fear would prelude to the global sunset of sport shooting worldwide and thus to the elimination of sport practice as a legitimately recognized reason to own firearms in many Countries, particularly in Europe.
Luciano Rossi continues to claim his innocence, and vowed to appeal the sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, stating he is "confident justice would be enforced in that forum".