06/25 11:06 CDT IOC president cautions against profit-driven sports events
IOC president cautions against profit-driven sports events
By GRAHAM DUNBAR
AP Sports Writer
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) --- Seeking to protect sports bodies from
independently run events, IOC President Thomas Bach asked local governments to
resist promoting competitions he believes go against the Olympic ideal.
The organizers of profit-driven sporting ventures are "cherry picking" events
without sharing the International Olympic Committee's duty to use profits to
help athletes around the world, Bach told Olympic leaders on Tuesday at their
Citing a global zeitgeist that encouraged "narrow self-interest," Bach
criticized "a purely market-based approach to sport that ignores the values we
"This is why we are calling on public authorities to take this distinction into
consideration whenever they take decisions that affect sport," the IOC
In swimming, three elite athletes filed an anti-trust case against governing
body FINA in California last year. Dozens more swimmers risked bans by
supporting a privately owned league series which had a launch event planned in
FINA then withdrew the ban threat, increased prize money and launched its own
new top-tier competition series.
Basketball governing body FIBA has been in a long-running dispute with the
club-controlled EuroLeague competition.
"Sport without values is just entertainment," Bach said. "Yes, Olympic sport
must be entertaining, but it must not be just entertainment."
He did acknowledge some businesses "deserve a profit" for presenting sports in
innovative ways that engage young people.
"What is not fair at all, is that more and more public authorities are ignoring
the differences between these purely commercial companies and us, as
values-based organizations," Bach said.
Bach often defends the authority of Olympic bodies and the IOC business model
using games revenues to fund them rather than pay prize money directly to
The IOC also resists relaxing rules that limit Olympic athletes from promoting
personal sponsors during a games period, despite losing a German federal agency
Bach has argued that top-tier Olympic sponsors, who paid more than $1 billion
in the 2013-16 cycle, need protected exclusive rights to maximize IOC revenue
for re-investing in sports.
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
"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
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
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