Not Even the
FBI Can Turn Sports Bodies into 'Vestals' (Folha, Brazil)
police operation, even of a large scale as is the case now with the FBI against
FIFA, will not suffice to alter the course of world sport. None of this will
transform the members of sports organizations into vestals. … The arrogance of
international sports bodies always prevails and over time - survives. They are
organized, powerful and influential organizations. So they must be permanently
monitored for the purposes of ensuring at least a minimum of control and to inhibit
A mere police operation, even of a large scale as is the
case now with the FBI against FIFA, will not suffice to alter the course of world
sport. None of this will transform the members of sports organizations into vestals. For some time,
they will certainly be more cautious. Even so, episodes and outcomes like the FIFA
case always bring comfort.
This type of operation, in which the corrupt and the criminal
are punished - usually the most vulgar, insatiable and daring, triggers a
general feeling of relief. Only time, however, will reveal with any certainty the
true impact of an operation of this magnitude.
The position of IOC President Thomas Bach, a German, is
worth registering. Bach underlined
the need for FIFA to implement "appropriate" and "painful
but absolutely necessary" reforms. Yet he chose not to engage in the
debate about the resignation of SeppBlatter, who had just been re-elected for a fifth consecutive
term, nor would he comment on the calling of new elections in world football's
In 2002, the IOC had its own bitter experience with the
scandal over vote buying at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Things
already seemed on the wrong track in the run-up to the Games and the mistakes that
built up exploded when the scandal finally broke. It was, at the time, a
warning about the precarious way the Games are administered and how vulnerable to
abuse. Meanwhile, no drastic changes to the IOC's course or attitude have been
Finally last December, the IOC adopted its Agenda
2020, a reform package for framing the Olympic movement in the context of
today’s world. It contains 40 recommendations to bring things up to date, chiefly
aimed at reducing costs and making the Games more viable.
This was no gesture of goodwill, but the result of
international pressure and a global situation punished by economic crises.
These issues, plus the sheer gigantism of the Olympics, assumed such proportions
that the event became virtually unbearable even for cities with the potential
to host it.
A serious situation became yet more alarming when only
Beijing, China, and Almaty, Kazakhstan, remained in
the running to host the 2022 Winter Games, with the final decision still to be
made. Four other cities interested in the Games (Stockholm, Sweden; Krakow,
Poland; Lviv, Ukraine; and Oslo, Norway) withdrew
from the race because of the demands of the letter of commitments.
Agenda 2020 will only come into force for the 2024 Olympics.
Despite this, the organization of the 2020 Tokyo Games will already enjoy the support
of the new measures, particularly with respect to cost containment, the use of existing
sports facilities and more affordable temporary facilities.
The Rio Olympics in 2016, in turn, will mark a milestone that
will go down in the history of the Games, as it's the last of those with characteristics
of gigantism. It is the end of an era. The existing limit on the number of participating
athletes will be maintained, that is, 10,500 for the Summer Olympics and 2,900
for the Winter Games.
The budget estimate for next year's Games is around $12
billion, yet that figure is likely to rise. The construction site is extensive
and the deadlines, with no chance of extension, will be a challenge to meet.
Last year, the Sochi Winter Olympics in Sochi cost no less than $51 billion.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
What countries would be able to bear such a rapid escalation
in costs? After Rio, the Olympic Games will move to Asia, with the 2020 Summer
Games in Tokyo, the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang,
South Korea, and the 2020 Winter Games in Beijing or Almaty.
Agenda 2020 includes other curious recommendations. One says
that the IOC will provide its accounts and expenditures to international
auditing companies for analysis and assessment, something that isn't even
mandatory, the organization says.
That's an apparently sensible gesture, since the
organization juggles some atronomical numbers. TV rights
are an example. For the four Olympic Games ending in 2020, the IOC signed $4.4
billion contract with U.S. broadcaster NBCUniversal. That
figure almost doubled for the period 2021 to 2032 [$7.65 billion – also to be
broadcast by NBCUniversal.
Another recommendation concerns an age limit of 70 years for
a person to be an IOC member. After that, one can continue to be a member for another
four years, although such appointments "should be limited."
The IOC president's term of office is eight years with the
possibility of an additional four. However, that won't guarantee a change in
power as a well-functioning group can control the institution.
The sport gained such global prominence in recent years that
the United Nations recognized its autonomy in a resolution adopted by consensus
The practical effect of the measure is that the U.N. will ensure
national Olympic committees autonomy in their relation with local governments. The
purpose is to encourage political neutrality and reduce boycotts in
competitions and discrimination of any kind.
The U.N. resolution also acknowledges sport as a means of
promoting education, health, development and peace. The FIFA episode proved the
reverse, with outlaws on one side and heroes on the other, as in the cinema.
The arrogance of international sports bodies always prevails
and over time - survives. They are organized, powerful and influential
organizations. So they must be permanently monitored for the purposes of
ensuring at least a minimum of control and to inhibit excesses.
*EdgardAlves has been a sports journalist since 1971 and
writes about Olympics-related issues. He has participated in the coverage of
six Olympic Games and four Pan American Games