LIMA (PERU), Sept 12: What was supposed to be a stress-free meeting of the International Olympic Committee turned into something quite different, when IOC president Thomas Bach was forced to spend nearly an hour defending the handling of a mushrooming bid scandal and insisting the IOC is doing its best to fight corruption.Bach was on defence throughout a news conference held after a meeting of the IOC executive board, which earlier in the day said it was asking Brazilian authorities for details involving IOC member Carlos Nuzman.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, addresses the opening IOC session in Lima, Peru.
Nuzman, the organiser of the Rio Games, is accused of funnelling USD 2 million to another former IOC member, Lamine Diack, to secure votes to bring the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.
Last week, Brazilian police brought Nuzman in for questioning, setting up the awkwardness this week in Peru, where the IOC will award the 2024 Olympics to Paris and the 2028 Games to Los Angeles tomorrow.
“We have taken action in the case of Mr. Diack,” Bach said, in reference to the former head of track and field whose IOC membership has been stripped. “When evidence is provided (in the Nuzman case), we will act. But in order to take action, you need evidence.”
Less than two years ago, Bach was critical of FIFA, which was embroiled in a bidding scandal of its own. He urged soccer’s governing body to get its house in order because it could “continue to overshadow the credibility of FIFA and affect all sports organisations for such a long time.”
At that time, Bach started reforming the IOC’s own auditing and ethics operations, and on Monday, he insisted those changes are well under way. But he couldn’t avoid questions about how he could be critical of others when the IOC clearly still has its own issues, some two decades after reforms in the wake of a bid scandal that sullied the Salt Lake City Games.
“Nobody wants to have credibility issues,” Bach said. “But we have to be realistic. No organisation in the world is immune to credibility issues. We have to face this reality and we have undertaken the reforms and provided ourselves with the instruments to tackle these challenges. I hope these will also be respected.”
Also in the news this week was IOC member Patrick Hickey’s resignation from the executive board, a year after being arrested in Brazil in a ticket-scalping investigation. And not attending this week’s meetings is IOC member Frankie Fredericks, who was previously removed from the committee’s inspection team for Paris and Los Angeles in wake of allegations he was caught up in the vote scandal.
Fredericks has denied wrongdoing, saying a USD 300,000 payment he received from Diack’s son on the day Rio won the vote for 2016 was for legitimate consultancy work. – AP