POSTED: March 27th 2009

IOC reaches deal with USOC

Jacques Rogge: chemistry at work / lake images
Jacques Rogge: chemistry at work / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

DENVER: Details of a settlement in the squabble over United States Olympic revenues may largely, though not entirely, remove the cloud from over Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Games.

Dr Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, said at the close of Sportaccord in Denver that the IOC and USOC had found a formula to defuse the issue.

The US receives around 13 per cent of TV rights and 20pc of global marketing proceeds from the Games under a long-standing contract whose contentious terms had been potentially damaging to Chicago in its bidding contest with Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

Rogge delivered a joint statement from the IOC and USOC explaining that the Americans would increase their contribution to Games costs and that the two bodies would start negotiations in 2013 on a new contract to come into effect after the 2020 Games [Full text below].

Threat discounted

The deal was hammered out by three-strong delegations from both sides with the IOC triumvirate comprising marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg, Denis Oswald and Mario Vazquez Rana while the USOC was represented by chairman Larry Probst, acting chief executive Stephanie Streeter and first vice-president (international) Bob Ctvrtlik.

Rogge thought the threat as far as Chicago’s 2016 bid was concerned was a perception only among the media.

He said: “I have always said that the two things were totally separate and there should be no linkage. The linkage has been created by the media; among my colleagues I have found an overwhelming number did not want to make a link - and there is no link any more even for those who are most suspicious.”

Those who continue to be “suspicious” will point to the lack of any hint of specific figures and a negotiating timescale which will far outstrip Rogge’s own tenure as IOC president.

He explained the inability to enact a solution before 2020 as the inevitable consequence of the long-term sale of TV and marketing rights.

“We are now bound by contracts until 2020,” said Rogge. “We have sponsors lined up until to 2020 under the terms of an agreement signed in 1996 and we want to respect that. The new key for the distribution of revenues after 2020 will be signed into contracts from 2013 on because we sign contracts seven years before the Games.”

Costs complexities

Rogge also said the IOC had taken into the “financial difficulties” of the USOC which has recently cut budgets and staff though its plight may not generate too much sympathy elsewhere in a similarly recession-hit world.

Trying to explain the complexities of the costs issue, Rogge said: “The costs of each Games are paid one-third each by three parties – by the IOC, by the 35 Olympic federations and by the 205 national Olympic committees. However the USOC does not participate with a share of one 205th.

"Now, since the US receives more revenue they will commit more than the rank and file Olympic committees. Exactly how much [that will be], is still to be discussed.”

Rogge said the foundations for the deal had been his initial meeting with USOC chairman Probst in Lausanne earlier this year. He added: “The chemistry is working extremely well . . . We have proposed what I believe was a constructive proposition to the USOC, Mr Probst took it on, I met with him again as soon as I arrived in Denver three dayss ago and we agreed we needed to have a mtg as soon as possible. This was arranged for the next day, it was very constrctive and led to the joint agreement we have today.”

Full statement

Joint statement of the IOC and USOC: “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) have held a very constructive meeting on the issue of Olympic revenue distribution.
“Gerhard Heiberg, chairman of the IOC Marketing Commission, led a three-member IOC delegation that included Denis Oswald, president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, and Mario Vazquez Raña, president of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
“They met on the sidelines of Sportaccord with USOC Chairman Larry Probst, Acting CEO Stephanie Streeter and 1st Vice President, International, Bob Ctvrtlik.
“They found the following points of agreement: 
“--USOC agreed to the principle of participation in the Games costs at an appropriate level. 
“—In light of the changed economic environment since 1996, the IOC and the USOC agreed to enter into discussion in 2013 to resolve the issue of revenue sharing for the period after 2020 in the best interest of the Olympic Movement and Olympic Solidarity.
“The IOC and USOC delegations agreed to continue to work in good faith and a constructive spirit and to meet again before end of the year.”

Keywords · IOC · International Olympic Committee · USOC · United States Olympic Committee · Rogge · Probst

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