Thunderer Column today p26 The Times:
The IOC must end the free tickets and the expensive junkets by Derek Wyatt
The International Olympic Committee (currently 106 members) is not a fit-for-purpose organisation. To avoid its own “Arab Spring” it needs a radical restructure.
It has not backed equal rights for more than half the world's population even though its own Charter says it must “encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women”.
Would it be too much to think that by Rio 2016, every committee of the IOC would be split equally between men and women? But, it will never happen because of the IOC's very structure.
Its annual turnover is difficult to find on its own web site but from 2009-2012 it was north of £3.5billion. That’s a sizeable FTSE 100 company. Yet, whereas every listed FTSE company has strict regulation, global sport organisations, as we have seen with FIFA, exist in their own silos. If you are an IOC member you do not have to retire until you are 80 years old. Imagine a FTSE Board made up of members appointed forty years ago. The IOC should be the world’s most dynamic sporting organisation offering a lead to every other international, regional, national and local sports body. Like its president, members should be elected for eight years, with neither allowed the present four year extension granted to the president.
All the votes for all the various positions should be in the open, rather than in secret. Fat chance.
No FTSE 100 company could arrange their bi-annual event and pay for their other halves flights, hotel, bills and private cars paid for. The more so as so many admit they prefer shopping to watching the Games. The empty seat fiasco at the start London 2012 last week was not LOCOG’s fault. It was about the right to a seat of IOC members, national sports federation representatives and the VIP hangers-on. Ticketing should be the sole right of the host city.
I suspect the reason the IOC drags its feet about the role of women in both the summer and winter games is about money. Put simply, they will say – but not in public – that male athletes sell more advertising than female ones. So no gold medals to the IOC for these Games.
But if we were handing out medals, then it's gold for Roger Mosey and his brilliant team at the BBC for the innovative delivery of the technical aspects of the Games. It's a pity the BBC cannot work with the IOC to deliver a permanent Olympic “Channel” to cover sports medicine, sports science, coaching, the history, documentaries, classics and so on. And golds medals to the Olympic Delivery Authority, LOCOG and our wonderful volunteers.
Derek Wyatt founded the Women’s Sports Foundation (UK) in 1984; as a Labour MP, he chaired the All Party Parliamentary London Olympic and Paralympic group 2005-2010.