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Former FILA President and long-time wrestling leader Milan Ercegan died today at 95

from the FILA website

It is with great sorrow that FILA announces the death of its former President and Honorary President for life, Mr. Milan Ercegan, at the age of 95.

Mr. Ercegan held minsterial functions in the former Yugoslavia while pursuing his life-long passion for wrestling.

He had been Secretary General for 20 years under President Roger Coulon (FRA) before being elected as FILA President in 1972. His contribution to the development of wrestling throughout the world can be considered priceless.

He notably published the first book for coaches (Theory and Practice of Wrestling) in 1973 and organised the following year the first coaches’ course in Dubrovnik. He also created the Advanced School for Coaches in 1974. During his 30 years of presidency, numerous works were published, notably the three major books from Bulgarian Professor Raïko Petrov: "Olympic Wrestling throughout the Millennia" (1993), "100 Years of Olympic Wrestling" (1997) and "The Roots of Wrestling" (2000).

Thanks to his programmes, President Ercegan opened some new perspectives to the promotion of wrestling. He more particularly started the "FILA Golden Plan" whose goal was to provide technical assistance for developing countries. At the end of his term in 2002, about a 100 wrestling mats and a considerable number of books, magazines, videos and other pedagogic tools were distributed for free to National Federations.

He also introduced new competitions to the FILA calendar (notably the junior World Championships and cadet Continental Championships) and revolutionized the world of wrestling by admitting female wrestling as a full-fledged discipline within FILA and its National Federations.

President Ercegan can without exaggeration be acknowledged as a man who shaped FILA at a time when all International Federations were at their first steps and the Olympic movement at the dawn of the modern structure we know today.

The FILA Bureau and the 173 member Federations lose today a pioneer and a great defender of wrestling and sport in general. May President Ercegan rest in peace.

- posted by Raphaël Martinetti, FILA President

Translation from Serbian website

In Belgrade, after a long illness, former President of the World wrestling federation (FILA) Milan Ercegan died at age 95.

Ercegan was general secretary of FILA starting in 1956 until 1972, when he became the fifth president of the World wrestling federation, which he headed until 2002.

In those three decades, Ercegan has greatly improved the wrestling world. One of his top achievements came in 1973 when the United States organized the first World Cup. Thanks to his efforts, women's wrestling became a recognized sport and joined the program of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Upon arrival at the FILA, President Ercegan inherited a debt of 40,000 Swiss francs, and when he resigned in 2002, FILA was in a financial surplus position of 15 million francs.

The time and place of the burial for Milan Ercegan has not yet been announced.

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