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Coe re-elected 192-0 as World Athletics President.
British Olympic icon and two-term World Athletics President Sebastian Coe was re-elected for a third and final term as the head of the federation on Thursday. The vote was 192-0, with three abstentions.
Coe (pictured above) was first elected in 2015, taking over for the disgraced Lamine Diack (SEN) and having to work through the financial chaos of an internal scheme run by Diack that siphoned off sponsorship money and extorted funds from Russian athletes to cover up doping positives, plus the state-sponsored Russian doping scandal.
He introduced the Athletics Integrity Unit in 2017 and has taken steps to improve the federation’s governance and processes, but remains criticized for his sport’s unsure public profile and popularity, an area he says is a primary focus for the future.
Elected as the four Council Vice Presidents:
● Raul Chapado (ESP), a Spanish Olympian in the men’s triple jump in 2000 and head of the Spanish Athletics Federation.
● Ximena Restrepo (CHI), re-elected as a Vice President; a four-time Olympian and 1992 bronze medalist in the women’s 400 m, formerly the General Secretary of the Chilean federation.
● Adille Sumariwalla (IND), a 1980 Olympian in the men’s 100 m, head of the Athletics Federation of India and a founder and managing director of multiple advertising and communications companies.
● Jackson Tuwei (KEN), the head of Athletics Kenya, and a former military officer.
Tuwei’s election is quite remarkable in view of Kenya’s continuing doping issues, so severe that the Athletics Integrity Unit had to assign its managing director to take charge of reforming the situation.
Also elected were 13 members of the World Athletics Council, from a very large field of 27. American Willie Banks was re-elected for a second term as a member, and long-time Council members Abby Hoffman (CAN) and Nawal El Moutawakel (MAR) were also re-elected.
Long-time Council member Sergey Bubka (UKR) did not stand for re-election, but Ukraine will be represented by Nataliia Dobrynska, the 2008 Olympic winner in the heptathlon and a Vice President of the national federation.
Coe thinks Russian participation in Paris “unlikely”
After the election, Coe talked to reporters on Thursday about the situation with Russia, which World Athletics has had on suspension since 2015 for doping issues and although reinstated on that issue, continues to keep them out of competitions in view of its invasion of Ukraine:
“I don’t have a crystal ball, I follow world events in the same way that you all do.
“Our position is very clear. The Council has made that position clear. The new Council – and I’m not going to speak for them in advance – but I would be very surprised if there is any shift in that position.
“We have certainty and we’ve done it for reasons of integrity of competition. We will of course monitor that situation.
“We have risk committees, we have working groups that will always be wanting to be across that and what might the circumstances look like if there’s any shift in the situation but I have to say that looks unlikely at the moment with where we are with events in Ukraine.
“I think we made the right decision as an international federation, but it was made thanks to the task force; we didn’t just close the door and say ‘you are suspended.’ We are working closer with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, we continue to work with them to understand that they can be reintroduced as clean athletes. This work will continue. There was a lot of criticism even from the International Olympic Committee, but it was important that we had a process that our association stood behind.”
The Russian response was quick and unhappy:
● Former sports minister Pavel Kolobkov told the Russian news agency TASS:
“I had a long history of relationships with Coe, from which I concluded that he was not an independent person, and all the agreements that we had with him were never fulfilled by World Athletics.
“I fulfilled all my obligations to this organization a long time ago, but the return of our athletes to the international arena was repeatedly postponed under various unreasonable pretexts. It is obvious that World Athletics was guided by biased circumstances and far-fetched requirements.
“Representatives of World Athletics, who worked in our country, stated that we had fulfilled all the requirements. The question is brewing: why did all this happen at all? We have always built partnerships, but we have not seen any response from that side. Therefore, there are no hopes for positive for I didn’t feed the movement from World Athletics to Russia. It was high time to conclude that they are neither partners nor friends to us.”
● The Chair of the State Duma Committee on Physical Culture and Sports, Dmitry Svishchev added:
“The International Federation has expressed its politicized position on this issue.
“Instead of developing sports, defending the interests of athletes, and Coe, I note that he himself is a former athlete, president of World Athletics, even neglects the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee, which spoke about the admission of athletes in a neutral status. His position is incomprehensible, illogical, and I wonder how he argues it. And the first thing I would do in the place of the leadership of the All-Russian Athletics Federation would be to ask Coe for clarification on this issue .
“Previously, he said that Russia must fulfill financial conditions, resolve all issues related to the fight against doping. Now the reason is not even indicated. I think that he is still not saying something, so there are some disagreements that he does not want to voice? In general, nothing surprising or unusual. Of course, we would like to compete at the Olympics in athletics, this is a larger percentage of all Olympic medals, and our chances are good. We know the names of each of our athletes who are capable of this. There is still time, we need to fight for the right of our athletes to participate in the Games.”
The legendary figure skating coach, Tatyana Tarasova, cast further doubt on Russians in Paris in 2024:
“Not only athletics, but also the rest will not be allowed in. No one will be allowed in until this [invasion of Ukraine] is over. This trend will also be in other sports, this is just the beginning.”
World Athletics in 2022: $17.2 mil. loss, $43.5 mil. reserves
World Athletics posted its annual report and financial statements for 2022 on Thursday, with a significant loss for the year of $17.222 million, but reserves of $43.484 million.
This is in line with the stated strategy of taking the $39.478 million Olympic television money it receives and spending it down over the following three years, until the next Olympic Games comes along (two years in the case of the delayed Tokyo payout).
World Athletics broadcast and sponsorship revenues for 2022 – with no Olympic dividend – were steady, with cash income of $37.052 million, up from $34.817 million in 2021. A large increase in value-in-kind income for 2022 pushed the statement total to $48.724 million vs. $38.241 million in 2021. The statements did not indicate the specific nature of the increase in in-kind goods and services.
With the smaller revenue areas added in, total revenue for 2022 was $54.923 million, down from $82.869 million – with the Olympic television money – in 2021.
Expenses zoomed, however, from $52.648 million in 2021 to $72.002 million in 2022. Most of the increase – $18 million – came from increased costs for the World Championships, World Indoor Championships and World U-20 Championships held in 2022 – more than $7 million – and an additional $9.3 million in “Value in kind commissions,” paid to an outside agency, assumed to be Dentsu, the federation’s long-time marketing partner.
The federation showed $61.653 million in assets, down from $82.386 at the end of 2021 (due to the Olympic dividend), with $43.484 million in reserves and $46.061 in cash and equivalents.
Coe’s comments in the report were, of course, positive toward the future:
“We have great foundations in place. We are seeing more stars grow in our sport through the athlete stories we and the media are telling. And we are actively looking at ways to raise them even higher, helping our athletes become more famous through special features, documentaries and making them more available to fans and media. Performance is key but personalities and passions are also important connectors.
“We have never had such a good opportunity to grow athletics as we have over the next few years.”
The federation had good news on Thursday, announcing a sponsorship from Deloitte, “will provide a wide range of digital consulting services and sports operations and platforms to World Athletics and the World Athletics Series events from 1 January 2024 until 31 December 2029.”
This is in the “Supporter” classification – a new level – and builds on Deloitte’s TOP sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee.
The Sports Examiner is your all-in-one coverage source for the key competitive, economic, and political forces shaping elite sport and the Olympic Movement. To get The Sports Examiner by e-mail, sign up here: http://www.thesportsexaminer.com/the-sports-examiner-daily/