Acosta resigns, in part, due to conflict

Updated: May 17, 2004, 9:40 PM ET
Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The president of the international volleyball federation resigned as a member of the IOC on Monday amid allegations of financial impropriety.

Ruben Acosta, of Mexico, said he was leaving the IOC immediately because of his ethics dispute with the committee and to avoid further conflict before the Athens Olympics.

Acosta also noted that he had reached 70, the age limit for International Olympic Committee members. He was elected in 2000, and his term would have expired at the end of the year.

Acosta said he will remain as president of the volleyball federation, FIVB, which runs the indoor volleyball and outdoor beach volleyball competitions at the Olympics.

The announcement came two days before the IOC ethics commission is due to report to the executive board -- including a possible recommendation for expulsion -- on allegations that Acosta misused Olympic funds. A Swiss court also is investigating.

Acosta has denied any wrongdoing.

In a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge, Acosta said he regretted the "conflict" between FIVB rules and the IOC's "new ways of defining ethics in sport."

IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said Acosta's resignation had been accepted.

Acosta's presidency of the FIVB -- which he has headed for 20 years -- could also be in trouble. The IOC is extending its ethics rules to all components of the Olympic movement, including sports federation leaders.

Acosta is the first IOC member to resign since former U.S. Olympic Committee president Sandra Baldwin stepped down in May 2002 after admitting she lied about her academic credentials.

Four members resigned in 1999 after being implicated in the Salt Lake City bid scandal. Six others were expelled.

Acosta has been in a bitter dispute with the deposed head of the former Argentine association, Mario Goijman.

Goijman has accused Acosta of falsifying accounts and pocketing millions of dollars from Olympic revenues allocated by the IOC to the international federation.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press