Contrary to popular belief, the IFBB has never been a sports federation. In the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, it was just a name used for their contests by Ben and Joe Weider. The IFBB did not really exist as a separate entity until December 30, 1969 when it became a privately held Canadian corporation. The various national chapters throughout the world were separate organizations, sometimes official government entities, sometimes privately held corporations, that simply affiliated with Weider’s corporation.
Ben Weider was president for life of the IFBB because he was the majority share owner of the privately held corporation. Prior to his death, it seems that Ben transferred the amateur branch of the corporation to Rafael Santonja in Spain. Guess that now makes Rafael president for life. (Jim Manion seems to be the primary shareholder of the for profit IFBB Pro League. )
But now there seems to be unrest in the amateur IFBB. Some Europeans are objecting to the international IFBB becoming a privately held Spanish corporation. The EBFF, founded in 2002, may not recognize Santonja’s IFBB as ‘the IFBB’.
Then there is Paul Chua, the chairman (perhaps owner) of the ABBF, a corporation based in Singapore. Over the years, many people have accused Chua of corruption, of deciding who wins the Asian Amateur Championships before the first athlete steps on stage. Milos Sarcev was suspended by the Pro IFBB for making such accusations publicly, rather than ‘following protocol’ and taking it to the IFBB privately, which in my opinion would have resulted in the matter to be swept under the rug once again.
Now on March 31, 2009, William Tierney, Assistant General Secretary of Santonja’s IFBB, temporarily suspended Chua from the IFBB for not following drug testing protocols at recent contests. I think that’s a polite way of saying Chua selected the winners despite what drug test results came back. (see note below) Of course, Chua is now fighting back, claiming that Santonja’s IFBB has no authority over him, that various Asian governments recognize him as the official governing agency over bodybuilding throughout Asia, and that’s all that matters.
On top of all this, the 2009 IFBB Men’s World Amateur Championships that were to be held in Dubai, have been canceled, probably due to the economic downturn, which has hit Dubai especially hard. There were talks of moving them to Europe, but if the EBBF is fighting with the IFBB too, that may be unlikely. Sad, considering that this would be the 50th anniversary of this contest. The first IFBB Universe was held in 1959.
Note: I don’t believe for a second that the winners of the Amateur Worlds, Europe or Asian championships are drug free. Everyone is using large amounts of performance enhancing drugs. Then at the end of the contest a handful of the top 5 of each of the classes are randomly selected for drug tests, which they fail. Everyone else moves up in the standings. In my opinion.