Klaus Schormann has overcome a vote of no confidence at the UIPM Congress ©Getty Images

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) Congress has overwhelmingly voted against removing President Klaus Schormann from office after rejecting a motion of no confidence.

Of the votes cast, just 13 of the valid votes were in favour of dismissing the German, while a total of 55 members voted against the motion, which was put forward by Denmark and Mauritius.

Four delegates abstained and there were 17 blank votes.

The motion required a two-thirds majority of 37 to be passed.

Schormann, who has held the post of President since 1993, has faced criticism for his record in Africa and an alleged failure "to safeguard the interests, rights and privileges of the UIPM within the Olympic Movement" has also come under fire.

However, backing for Schormann significantly follows the UIPM Congress controversially agreeing to open the pathway for obstacle to replace riding after Paris 2024 yesterday, as modern pentathlon bids to be part of the Olympic programme for Los Angeles 2028.

The decision to remove riding from modern pentathlon, which was initially taken last year, is a long-term effect of German coach Kim Raisner being sent home from Tokyo 2020 in disgrace for punching a horse that refused to jump during the women's competition.

Prior to the vote of no confidence, the Congress voted 43 to 24 against a motion forwarded by Australia to reform the riding discipline up until Paris 2024.

Replacing riding has sparked widespread concern and anger within the sport from athletes claiming they had no input into the shift.

Erik Lakomaa, right, demanded a change of leadership during a speech at the UIPM Congress ©UIPM
Erik Lakomaa, right, demanded a change of leadership during a speech at the UIPM Congress ©UIPM

Erik Lakomaa, a Board member of Modern Pentathlon Federation of Sweden, rebuked the current UIPM leadership and demanded for Schormann's close to 30-year reign to end.

"I think this conference has shown the opposite," he said in regards to UIPM treasurer John Helmick calling for "dialogue".

"I think that is very clear to most of the delegates here.

"There is time for everything.

"Thirty years is a very long time.

"Too long.

"It is a time to change leadership.

"We need a more democratic, transparent and also align with the values of international sport."

Lakomaa next attacked Schormann for claiming on day one of the Congress that last year was a success, despite it being the start of the ongoing crisis in the sport.

"I don't agree with the President, who said yesterday that 2021 was a success," he continued.

Robert Stull, right, insisted the Executive Board has
Robert Stull, right, insisted the Executive Board has "great confidence" in President Schormann ©UIPM

"It was a disaster, and disasters must have consequences.

"We need a fresh start.

"We need a new leadership, the highest - not the lowest - governance standards.

"This is essential as you will see in the coming years."

Yesterday, the UIPM Congress introduced new term limits for UIPM office-bearers, with the President and Executive Board members being limited to three four-year terms, although the clock will not start until 2024.

Schormann last year was re-elected unopposed for an eighth term as UIPM President with an Elective Congress set to be staged in two years.

UIPM Executive Board member Robert Stull of the United States dismissed the attempt to dislodge Schormann, insisting the Executive Board is "united" and has "great confidence" in the President. 

Stull, who is also President of the North, Central and Caribbean (NORCECA) Confederation of Modern Pentathlon, has himself come under scrutiny for his links to obstacle.

He is managing director of USA Pentathlon Multisport, formerly known as USA Pentathlon, which lists USA Obstacle Course Racing as one of its members.

Stull was formerly listed as a Board member of World Obstacle.

The decision to replace riding with obstacle has divided modern pentathlon ©UIPM
The decision to replace riding with obstacle has divided modern pentathlon ©UIPM

Athletes from USA Pentathlon have also demanded for Stull's immediate resignation as their chief executive, alleging he fabricated a meeting with them to discuss proposed changes to the riding element of the sport - a meeting that "never happened."

Stull has contradicted the athletes, affirming that the meeting did happen.

Sharif El-Erian, who became a UIPM vice-president last year, followed his Executive Board colleague by calling the sport now to move on from its division.

"The UIPM works in a democratic way," he expressed.

"It is not the President putting decisions and forcing them in a undemocratic way, no.

"Every voice counts.

"Whatever the majority leans on goes.

Sharif El-Erian called for the sport to be unified in the future ©UIPM
Sharif El-Erian called for the sport to be unified in the future ©UIPM

"We need to be united behind one mission.

"One mission only - the survival of our sport.

"We have to move on from today and stand as one."

He continued: "We have to show the International Olympic Committee we are one big family.

"We have had our differences.

"We will always have differences.

"But the voting from today and yesterday show clearly more than 80 per cent of the General Assembly agrees and is behind the Executive Board's decisions."