A declaration has been signed on the global expansion of the Professional Combat Sambo League.
It came at the end of a round-table discussion, entitled "Prospects for the Global Expansion of the Professional Combat Sambo League", at Omega Sirius Park Hotel in Russian city Sochi.
The event was attended by officials and members of the international sambo community, all of whom signed the declaration.
Among those present was International Sambo Federation (FIAS) President Vasily Shestakov and the head of the newly-established Professional Combat Sambo League, Arkady Rotenberg.
They were joined by four FIAS vice-presidents - Sergey Eliseev, Alamjon Mullaev, Dalil Skalli and Omar Lopera - as well as the Presidents of the National Federations (NFs) of South Korea, Uzbekistan and Armenia - Mun Seongcheon, Alisher Alimov and Michael Hayrapetyan, respectively.
Also in attendance was the secretary general of the Turkmenistan National Olympic Committee, Azat Muradov.
"Today, we all witness the birth of a long-cherished dream of ours - the foundation of the professional Combat Sambo League," Shestakov said in his welcoming speech.
"At present, sambo as a sport includes several disciplines - men's and women's sports sambo, beach sambo - but it is combat sambo that generates the greatest interest and excitement among the spectators.
"We have been moving towards the materialisation of this idea for a long while."
He added: "It is extremely important for us to support successful, talented athletes who have achieved high results in sambo, in our sport.
"Therefore, it was decided to introduce a financial component for athletes participating in such fights and to leverage this experience across all continents and National Federations."
Rotenberg also took to the floor, saying: "Today, we’ve reached a new milestone in the development and promotion of combat sambo.
"For us, for all those who have been engaged in sambo as a child, this is a truly great, joyful event, a momentous occasion that we all have been waiting for.
"Specifically for these competitions, we have developed new rules that should make them as simple and comprehensible as possible for athletes and spectators alike, and should make the fighting itself more fair by ruling out the referee errors."
Eliseev, who was moderating the round table, noted that the Professional Combat Sambo League has an array of goals and objectives.
Most notable are the promotion of sambo as a sports brand in the international arena, the organisation and staging of tournaments in an innovative format, and the transformation of professional combat sambo into a sport attractive for investments.
Mullaev, Skalli and Lopera, Presidents of the respective Sambo Union of Asia, African Sambo Confederation and Pan American Sambo Union, spoke in support of the initiative along with the NF Presidents.
"We’ve established this league and it’s highly important for us today that the National Federations not only support this initiative but also take the baton," Eliseev, President of the European and All-Russian Sambo Federations, said.