Bach says scandals undermining the credibility of sports
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Recent scandals are undermining the credibility of sports and casting suspicion on millions of clean athletes, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Tuesday.
Bach called on all sports organizations to follow rules of “good governance” to prevent the type of corruption cases that have rocked the global governing bodies of soccer and track and field.
In an op-ed piece published in newspapers around the world, Bach did not specifically name the scandals enveloping FIFA, the IAAF, and Russia’s track and field program, but the references were clear and unmistakable.
Because of the scandals, clean athletes “see the finger of suspicion pointing at them,” a situation akin to “the very worst side-effect of doping,” Bach said.
His comments came as the IOC executive board discussed issues of ethics and governance on the first day of a three-day meeting in Lausanne.
“As an Olympic medalist, recent developments in some sports are particularly upsetting,” said Bach, a former fencer. “What saddens me most as a former athlete is that they erode the trust in the clean athlete.′
“For their sake and the credibility of sports competitions, they have to be protected from doping and corrupting influences.”
Bach has repeatedly distanced the IOC from the scandal at FIFA that has led to a wave of arrests and indictments of dozens of soccer and marketing officials on racketeering charges, and the suspensions of FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA head Michel Platini. Blatter is a former IOC member.
“Fighting corruption means that good governance for sports organizations is essential,” Bach said.
The executive board on Tuesday approved a “code” of guidelines for the entire Olympic movement, designed to tackle match-fixing and other forms of manipulation.
While details were not released, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the code sets out harmonized regulations for all international federations and national Olympic bodies. All sports organizations are urged to work with judges, officials and referees to enforce the rules.
The IOC went through its own major corruption scandal in the late 1990s, with 10 members ousted for receiving cash and other favors during Salt Lake City’s winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games.
Bach said the IOC has audited financial reports, term, and age limits for all members, and independent audit and ethics commissions.
“We have called on and we expect all sports organizations to follow this route,” he said.
In a damning report last month, the World Anti-Doping Agency alleged widespread, state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics. That federation was suspended by the IAAF.
The IAAF’s former president, Lamine Diack, was arrested and charged by French authorities with corruption and money-laundering, stemming from allegations that he took money to cover up positive tests in Russia. The IAAF’s former anti-doping manager was also arrested.
Also, three senior Kenyan athletics federation officials were suspended over accusations they subverted the nation’s anti-doping system and siphoned money from Nike.
Bach urged governments, which provide 50 percent of WADA’s funding, to ensure their countries are fully compliant with global anti-doping rules and to crack down on dealers and corrupt doctors and coaches “with the full force of the law.”