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IOC to begin independent auditing of money given to sports organizations to avoid scandal

International Olympic Committee, IOC, president German Thomas Bach speaks during a news conference after the executive board meeting of the IOC at their headquarters, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015.
Image Credit: Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP
December 10, 2015 - 9:30 AM

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - The IOC will launch an independent auditing of the money it gives to sports organizations in a bid to prevent the type of corruption scandals that have engulfed the governing bodies of soccer and track and field.

Noting that many sports bodies are concerned their "reputation is being tarnished" by the FIFA and IAAF scandals, the IOC executive board on Thursday adopted a "declaration on good governance in sport and the protection of clean athletes."

"Recent incidents have shown that, in the interest of the credibility of all sports organizations, immediate action to reinforce good governance is necessary," the International Olympic Committee said.

IOC President Thomas Bach said an independent company would be hired to audit the revenues it provides to international federations, national Olympic bodies and games' organizing committees. The audits, which will start next year, will look at how the money is used and how the bodies are governed, he said.

"What we want to achieve is that this money which is coming from sport is going to sport, and the decisions of who is benefiting from these contributions are being taken by respecting the rules of good governance," Bach said at a news conference.

The IOC is providing about $1.5 billion in television and sponsorship revenues to Brazilian organizers of next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The IOC also distributes tens of millions of dollars in Olympic revenues to sports federations and national Olympic committees.

Bach said the audits would cover only the operational budget of the Rio organization committee, not the construction contracts for Olympic venues. In June, police arrested the CEOs of two of Brazil's largest construction companies, including the head of Odebrecht, which helped build many World Cup and Olympic venues.

"The stadiums are not finances or budgeted by the organizing committee," Bach said. "These are contracts between the city of Rio de Janeiro and the respective construction companies. We have full confidence in the mayor and the city."

The IOC said it welcomes proposals for term limits and other reforms at FIFA, which is reeling from a corruption scandal that has led to the arrests of dozens of soccer and marketing officials and the suspension of President Sepp Blatter.

"The reforms are a great step in the right way," Bach said. "Now finally there will be term limits, and there will be other measures taken. I think if these reforms are approved by the FIFA general assembly, it will be a sound basis for the future of FIFA."

However, the IOC said it "remains concerned with regard to the ongoing criminal procedures in the United States and Switzerland, which according to authorities could last another five years," it said.

The IOC urged FIFA "to take all necessary measures to clarify and resolve all the pending issues as soon as possible by further engaging with the relevant authorities."

The IOC also reiterated its proposals for taking drug-testing out of the hands of sports organizations to make the system more independent and credible. The IOC proposes that the World Anti-Doping Agency take over testing on a global level and create an intelligence-gathering unit to help catch cheaters.

The IOC said it wants to have an independent anti-doping system in place in time for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It also proposes that the Court of Arbitration for Sport handle all drug sanctions.

The IOC also asked the national Olympic committees of Russia and Kenya to make sure they have efficient out-of-competition testing programs in place for all athletes in all sports.

Russia's track and field athletes are currently banned from international competition following allegations of state-sponsored doping made in a report by a WADA panel. Kenya is also under scrutiny after a spate of doping cases.

Bach expressed full confidence in the success of the Rio Olympics, despite Brazil's ongoing economic and political crises. Brazil is going through its worst recession since the 1930s, and President Dilma Rousseff is facing impeachment proceedings.

Rio organizers are trying to cut 2 billion reals ($530 million), or almost 30 per cent, from their operating budget of 7.4 billion reals ($1.9 billion). The IOC set up a working group this week to see how it can help cut "fat" from the budget.

"We know the situation is not easy," Bach said. "It goes without saying that we are ready to adapt the budget of the organizing committee, the budget of the Olympic Games, to these challenges."

Bach said the impeachment proceedings against Rousseff should not harm the preparations for South America's first Olympics.

"We are now in a very operational phase where these kinds of political issues have much less influence than at other stages," he said. "We have seen the great progress being made. Despite the political issues in Brazil and despite of the impeachment, we are very confident about the success of the games."

News from © The Associated Press, 2015
The Associated Press

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