Evolution or revolution at the IOC?

The host countries of the next Olympic Games will now have to show their credentials in terms of human rights.

Human rights are indeed firmly anchored in the Olympic Charter, reads the commission’s press release. We will further strengthen these principles in the future. This will guide the processes and decisions related to the selection of future hosts and the organization of the Olympic Games, as well as the representation of athletes and the practice of safe and inclusive sport.

To achieve its objectives, the IOC is therefore ready to reform its charter to make its intervention more effective and above all less vague.

The organization is changing, new approaches will be needed to effectively address some of the most serious issues facing athletes today, including harassment and abuse, the ability to be heard and represented, and the need for a greater access to redress mechanisms, taking into account the views of those directly affected. »

A quote from Press release from the International Olympic Committee

In 2021, the IOC had set up a unit responsible for human rights which worked on an intervention framework. It is specified that this also includes inclusion, gender equality and the practice of sport in complete safety.

The Olympic movement no longer had the choice of adapting to today’s realities and it was absolutely necessary to dust off the house of Lausanne. Too often, the IOC had remained evasive or took refuge behind a certain neutrality in order not to take the necessary decisions.

Giving the Games back to China, despite overwhelming reports of human rights violations, was the last straw and forced the institution to reform, albeit belatedly. The decision of an appeal to the sports world to exclude the Russians after the invasion of Ukraine is the first tangible sign that came to break the immutable non-interference of the Olympic movement in the politics of a country.

Until 2032, the IOC will not have too many problems justifying its choice of host cities. The future will tell if this innovative Olympic principle will be seen as an evolution or a revolution. We will see what the attitude of the International Olympic Committee will be when faced with the candidacies of the Gulf countries such as Qatar or Saudi Arabia or any former republic in the East.

Sanctions and threats of exclusion

Decidedly, the members of the IOC Executive Board were determined at the end of the week to strike a blow. For tenants who usually don’t make too much noise, it seems that the days go by, but are not alike.

The place of boxing in the Olympic program is still questioned. For the Paris Games in 2024, it will still be under the supervision of the IOC.

The various concerns of the IOC regarding the governance of the IBA (International Boxing Federation), in particular regarding the arbitration and judging process and the financial dependence of the federation on the Russian public company Gazprom , are still relevant, underlines the Olympic movement in its press release.

If this sport is still on a ventilator, it will need a new breath if it wants to continue living at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

India and Guatemala in the IOC’s sights

The Guatemalan National Olympic Committee (NOC) has been suspended by the IOC.

If the election of its new members had gone well, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala decided otherwise by questioning the elections. This interference is a violation of the Olympic Charter which provides that a government cannot intervene in the organization of an NOC. The latter is independent and reports only to the parent institution.

If Guatemala is persona non grata of the Olympic family, India is also in the sights of the IOC. A devastating report speaks of governance shortcomings and serious internal disputes. The members of the executive board have therefore decided to issue a final warning to India, before considering the ultimate sanction, suspension.

Coincidence or not, the next meeting of the executive board which was to take place in May has been postponed to September. It must be said that it must take place in Mumbai!

Any suspension of a National Olympic Committee means, in particular, that:

  • the country’s athletes are no longer able to represent their country and compete under the country’s flag/name at the Olympic Games and other international sporting events, as applicable;
  • the NOC is no longer authorized to exercise its functions in accordance with its role as defined in the Olympic Charter;
  • the NOC no longer receives any funding from the Olympic movement until the suspension is lifted.

Paris 2024, confidence reigns

Paris 2024

Photo: Getty Images/AFP Contributor

The subject of the security of the next Olympic Games was also at the heart of the discussions of the executive board. We will remember the serious incidents that marked the Champions League final at the Stade de France.

We then questioned the ability of the French authorities to secure a major sporting event, especially since the next Games in France are intended to be extraordinary and spectacular, in particular with an opening ceremony on the Seine.

President Thomas Bach was reassuring. After various consultations, I can say that we have full confidence in the French security authorities. They drew the right conclusions from the incidents in the Champions League final and that boosts our confidence, he said.

The chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Paris 2024, the Belgian Pierre-Olivier Beckers, agrees with its chairman.

We are totally reassured by the words of the Interministerial Delegate for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Prefect of Policesaid Beckers.

If everyone seems to be happy, there is however a downside in this concert of praise.

The former Olympic champion in the 110m hurdles, Guy Drut, denounces a crisis situation. The former French sports minister doesn’t hesitate to talk about serious and tense situation within the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). There would be internal quarrels and abuse of power in the leadership of the CNOSF.

I’ve been at the CNOSF for 25 years, I’ve never seen that, said the former champion. There have always been difficulties between the presidents and their general secretaries, but they have always managed to get along. There, it is dramatic.

Hardly reassuring words that somewhat darken the City of Light two years before its Olympics.

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