LUXEMBOURG (AP) — An aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin was named the new president of the European Table Tennis Union on Wednesday.
Igor Levitin was the only candidate in an online election after former president Ronald Kramer opted not to run for a third four-year term.
ETTU spokeswoman Milica Nikolic told The Associated Press that 46 member federations voted for Levitin and two against.
“Sport, like all aspects of society, has been seriously damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and we need strength and unity to move European table tennis forward,” Levitin said in comments published by the Russian Table Tennis Federation.
“This period of turmoil allows us to think about the future of our sport and the changes needed to maximize our potential as a continent.”
Levitin is a former transport minister and longtime aide to Putin. He also chairs the supervisory board of the RTTF and is a senior vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee.
He met with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in that role during the 2018 Winter Olympics, at which time Russia was suspended over doping offenses.
Levitin is the latest influential Russian to head an international sports body after billionaire businessmen Alisher Usmanov, who is president of the International Fencing Federation, and Vladimir Lisin, who leads the global governing body for shooting.