IOC president cautions against profit-driven sports events

International Olympic Committee, IOC, President Thomas Bach from Germany speaks during the 134th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), at the SwissTech Convention Centre, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

The IOC has allocated more than $500 million that its Solidarity Commission will distribute from 2017-20 to athletes and Olympic teams.

Bach said “legitimate athlete representatives” — elected within Olympic bodies — are the only recognized path for negotiation, and pledged more benefits for competitors.

“We did not always do our best to make the solidarity model transparent and understandable enough to the athletes and the wider public,” he said.

Later in the meeting, the IOC reported $165 million profit in 2018 on income of $2.2 billion in the Pyeongchang Winter Games year. Revenue included $1.436 billion from broadcasting rights and $550 million from marketing income.

IOC spending included $1.153 billion to games organizers, national Olympics committees and sports governing bodies. There was $178 million in IOC operating costs and $133 million spent “promoting the Olympic Movement.” Overall project spending was $187 million on the Olympic House headquarters in Lausanne.

Also Tuesday, breakdancing moved closer to the 2024 Paris Olympic program, with a final decision due in December 2020.

The full IOC membership endorsed requests by Paris organizers and the IOC executive board to provisionally add breaking, and three other sports. Skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing already will be at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

A question was raised about a Senegalese fugitive from France’s investigation of suspected Olympic vote-buying, during a discussion of the 2022 Dakar Youth Olympics.

“This has nothing to do with the Youth Olympic Games,” Bach told IOC member Craig Reedie, the World Anti-Doping Agency president. Reedie asked for an update on Papa Massata Diack who is believed to be in Senegal avoiding questioning.

On Monday, French authorities said Diack and his father, Lamine — a long-time former IOC member when leading track and field’s governing body — should stand trial on money laundering and other corruption charges.

French pursuit of the Diacks was revealed in 2015 during a WADA investigation of extortion of Russian athletes linked to doping cover-ups. Papa Massata Diack is also implicated in suspected vote-buying in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics hosting races.

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June 2019