Thu, Aug 21, 2003 - Page 20 News List

US Taekwondo Union gets in trouble with the USOC

AP , COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

The US Taekwondo Union could be dropped as the sport's national governing body and lose the ability to chose Olympic team members after a review by the US Olympic Committee found problems in its operations and finances.

USOC membership and credentials chair Thomas Satrom wrote the Taekwondo Union on Aug. 1 that his committee is prepared to recommend revoking the union's charter over the problems, which include compliance with the USOC charter.

"Issues of compliance are extremely important to the USOC and this is a serious matter," USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said Tuesday.

Taekwondo Union executive director Bruce Harris and two other officials did not return calls from AP on Tuesday. The letter was first reported in The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

The Taekwondo Union will argue its case to the membership and credentials committee on Sept. 12-13 but will likely have a hard time changing the committee's recommendation. Olympic sports organizations can be decertified only by the USOC board. The board, which meets Oct. 17-19 in Cleveland, can decertify taekwondo, put the organization on probation or do nothing.

The US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation was placed on probation in the 1990s, and USA Boxing went on probation in November.

Even if the Taekwondo Union loses USOC membership, athletes such as 2000 Olympic gold medalist Steven Lopez are still eligible for the 2004 Athens Games. The USOC would likely take over selection of the US taekwondo team if the organization is decertified.

Satrom's letter said the review found "complete disarray of financial records" at the Taekwondo Union and "questionable use of funds," including loans to employees and payments to volunteers for expenses.

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