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Olympic boss Bach rules out direct IOC revenue payments to athletes

Dr Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, on Tuesday, ruled out direct payment to athletes from IOC revenue but admitted their solidarity model needed to be presented in a better way.

Bach said a group named “Athletes Germany’’ had called on the IOC to distribute “a fair share’’ of its sponsorship income to them because athletes were at the centre of the games.

The issue was discussed at an athlete’s forum at the IOC in April but Bach told the IOC session that any kind of direct payment would cause harm to the games.

“If that was the case we could be sure to have not 33 Olympic sports in Tokyo 2020 and seven in Beijing 2022 but far less,’’ he said.

“We wouldn’t have athletes from all 206 national Olympic committees participating in the games but a far smaller number.’’

Bach reiterated that athletes profit from the IOC which distributes 90 per cent of its revenue to national Olympic committees and sports federations but could do better in explaining what happens with the money.

“We did not always do our best to make the solidarity model clear enough to athletes and the public.

“We are working on a model to make it clearer on the opportunities,’’ he said.

“The athletes know better than us how to support us and support athletes in their own countries.’’

There is no one size fits all solution he said, adding that athletes “recognised the importance of the redistribution’’ at the forum.

Bach also warned that the IOC solidarity model has been challenged by commercial organisers of sports events and asks state authorities to make a distinction between them and the IOC and sports federations.

“Sport without values is just entertainment.

“Olympic sport must be entertaining, but it must not be just entertainment,’’ Bach said.

“We stand for values, for all athletes, for all sports, regardless if our competitions are commercial or not we are not cherry picking.

“We stand for values, we stand for universality, we stand for peace.’’

The IOC also presented its 2018 financial figures on Tuesday, with a profit of $165 million in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics year.

Revenue was given at $2.206 billion, including $1.436 billion from TV broadcast rights and $550 million from the IOC’s top tier sponsors.

The IOC spent $2.068 million, with $1.153 billion going to organising committees, national Olympic committees and sports federations, and $604 million listed as a games-related expenditure.

The committee session also heard a keynote speech from former United Nations Executive Secretary on Climate Change, Christiana Figures.

Scheduled for Tuesday were progress reports from upcoming Olympics including Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024.

The three-day session ends Wednesday. (dpa/NAN)

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