April 30, 2005

Jacques Rogge: Suddenly, Not So Popular

I know, I said I wasn't going to write any more about the summer Olympic programme. But it's too damn tempting!

For those of you who haven't been following along, way back on April 6 I expressed mild outrage that IOC president Jacques Rogge was planning to put each of the 28 summer Olympic sports to a simple majority vote, one at a time. I followed that up with a critique of the sport evaluation criteria.

On April 18 the international federations (IFs) for the 28 sports were publicly expressing their satisfaction with president Rogge after he reassured them that no sports would be cut from the program; although as I noted his exact statement offered no committment whatsoever. At the same time it seemed that Rogge was wavering on his plan to put the sports to a vote, but that issue was resolved at the IOC Executive Board meeting.

As the reality of the situation sinks in, the IFs are starting to make some noise about this issue, and it isn't pleasant. The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), which represents all 28 sports in the games, has scheduled a general assembly for June.

Some of the IF heads have let the press know that they are unhappy, although from what I have seen so far they are "preferring to remain anonymous." A petition protesting the plan has been circulated, and rumour has it that 12 IFs have signed it. One of the anonymous presidents made the following comment, which is quite similar to my original reaction:

Now he [Rogge] wants us to be like 28 bidding cities, lobbying IOC members to get their vote.

Another summed up the plan in an equally blunt fashion:

Basically Rogge and the IOC's executive board have decided there is no sports programme for the 2012 Games until the IOC votes in sports [at the session] in Singapore.

It remains to be seen how serious this is going to get, and whether the IFs have any real power here; some journalists are calling this a "crisis" for Rogge, but I don't know. I agree that this is a stupid way to go about setting the 2012 programme, but it seems to me that Rogge is holding most of the cards here.

No comments: