Federation urges Sales to mend rift

HONGKONG sports supremo A de O Sales should take action to solve the eight-year rift between two warring judo bodies or relinquish his power and let the Sports Development Board deal with the problem.

That's the gauntlet thrown down by the Hongkong Judo Federation in a letter to Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (ASF&OC) president Sales yesterday.

They say: ''We consider the ASF&OC must take action to resolve the long-standing judo problem, or relinquish authority to the SDB.'' The judo community has been deeply divided since a squabble over the fairness of elections in 1985 when the federation emerged as a splinter group from the Hongkong Judo Association.

The association retained the all-important ASF&OC backing but have come under increasing pressure to change their practices, some of which are at odds with the SDB's new ''code of conduct''.

Also, a recent television documentary cast the association in a bad light, providing evidence to show several clubs existed in name only, suggesting the voting rights of these clubs helped the executive committee remain in power.

The federation letter says: ''The speedy issue of the code of conduct for national sports associations by the SDB appeared to be in response to the programme.

''We are willing to participate in reforming the national judo association in accordance with the SDB's guidelines.

''We suggest that the ASF&OC or the SDB instigate an independent assessment of judo clubs, producing an electoral role which would form the voting membership of the association or a new united body.'' The programme, on ATV, highlighted the current problems of Dutch player Hugo Weijermars, who has been frozen out of top competition by the association's rigid seven-year residency rules for all international tournaments, and documented past problems suchas Tina Yu Wai-seung's difficulties in gaining Olympic selection last year despite being widely recognised as the territory's leading women's player.

It also produced a recording of an association meeting at which president Samson Mak Yiu-cheung stressed his desire that three clubs - Far East, Jung Wah and Kowloon Judokan - maintain control of the association.

The SDB say the code of conduct was not released in response to the programme.

But the code covers aspects of member clubs and voting rights, and it is on this point that the federation are hoping for action.