June 14, 2005

Denis Oswald's Political Problem

The International Rugby Board and its members are not too pleased about Denis Oswald's comment that rugby sevens is "something of a joke."

The IRB is shrewd enough to see this small gaffe as an opportunity:

The IRB is therefore asking that rugby, and the other four short-listed sports, be allowed to present to the IOC Members in Singapore in July so that our cases can be properly heard and understood before any vote is taken on the existing 28 sports.

If they do get the chance to make a presentation, it will be a nice bonus for them, a last opportunity to sway some IOC members to vote somebody out.

As an IOC member, Oswald has clearly put his foot in it. (To be fair, Oswald framed his criticism as a second-hand barb, but that doesn't really excuse it.) As president of the ASOIF, on the other hand, he's showing appropriate loyalty to his constituents, by trying to convince the IOC that a change to the programme would not be in the best interest of the Olympic movement.

But it's a delicate balancing act he's doing. His constituency within the ASOIF is fluid, and not really under his control. Who knows? In a month, it might include the IRB. And then he's going to have to change his tune.

No comments: