© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach may have his term extended beyond the current due date, but we doubt it.
Algeria’s Mustapha Berraf, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, raised the motion of Bach to be extended during the opening morning of the 141st IOC Session currently going on in Delhi, India.
The term limit for the position is 12 years.
No surprise… The autocratic one man show might continue… It looks again like an orchestrated manoeuvre which is typical for string-puller Bach. It might be efficient for his way of shaping the Olympic movement but not for a value-based sports culture. https://t.co/Lz4DvJ5HFg— Hajo Seppelt (@hajoseppelt) October 15, 2023
IOC vice-president John Coates of Australia, made it known that a written proposal to amend the IOC Charter must be submitted 30 days prior to such a session.
Bach was first elected in 2013, succeeding Jacques Rogge.
However, a really odd moment eclipsed the shine of the session. As Berraf — barely 20 minutes in — speaking in French, suggested that the Olympic Charter be changed to allow Bach more time in office. Apparently, Berraf had been urged by several members to not make this speech. What would motivate the man to defy his fellow committee members so deliberately?
Sebastion Coe for president
It has been long suggested that World Athletics President Sebastian Coe would like to lead the IOC.
World Athletics for the most part has had its best years under Sebastian Coe’s direction and diplomacy. It would be a loss to see him leave the position for the IOC. However, he would be a more appropriate candidate for the role of IOC president over those who have also shown interest in running including Juan Antonio Samaranch. Samaranch is the son of the former president of the same name who held the position from 1980 to 2001. Qualified, sure, but Coe is perhaps the most qualified with his various roles with FIFA, IOC and the British government, and certainly maintains his position on matters with consistency, unlike Bach.
For example, Bach, spoke repeatedly about how Russia should not be permitted to compete internationally due to systematic doping, then due to the war in Ukraine. For some unknown reason, he did an about-face and late last year began to campaign for Russia to be included. He also chastised naysayers about including politics with sport.
Bach shared that the current IOC position, “we do not punish or sanction athletes for the acts of their officials or government.”
Bach’s own people slam him
The IOC executive board suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on October 5 with immediate effect.
The IOC decided that the ROC breached the Olympic Charter to do with its illegal attack on Ukraine. This is in direct opposition to Bach’s stance. His campaigning apparently fell on deaf ears.
Hajo Seppelt, a well-known German journalist for ARD TV exposed Russia’s cheating in a documentary, “How Russia Makes Champions.” Seppelt also exposed the early days of Kenyan doping as an investigative journalist. He also helped expose former World Athletics president Lamine Diack who saw his 16-year reign come to an end with jail time.
Seppelt took to Twitter regarding Bach’s friendship with Putin. In German, he wrote, “Das übliche Schmierentheater von gewissenlosen Spin-Doktoren im IOC auf Wunsch des Präsidenten Bach. Gut entlarvt von @SZ_Sport @johannes_knuth. Nicht RUS ist für das IOC offenkundig das Problem, sondern die UKR. Beschämend.”
“The usual gossip theatre by unscrupulous spin doctors in the IOC at the request of President Bach. Well exposed by @SZ_Sport
@johannes_knuth. Obviously, the problem for the IOC is not RUS, but the UKR. Shameful.”
The story at SZ Sport is behind a paywall, however, the first paragraph indicates clearly the hypocrisy.
In the world of the International Olympic Committee, distortion of the truth is a standard tool. For example, when it comes to the re-admission of athletes from Russia and Belarus – the IOC blames Ukraine for problems.
Naysayers, according to Bach
Bach claims that the autonomy of sport is being undermined. Meanwhile, people continue to die and Russia’s corruption around doping has not changed. Apparently, he said, “by some governments” and “some forces want to divide our global sports movement.” He called “unity” over the readmission of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals.
A delegation of over 300 athletes and administrators attended the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, while banned. People wondered how that was possible. Competing under the nomenclature, “Russian Olympic Committee” did nothing to hide the name of the country. Where was the suspension?
“I would like to thank the ASOIF Council for its very clear declaration, emphasising the necessity to separate sport and politics,” said Bach.
Bach continued, “Many IFs have organised international sports events and even World Championships, applying the recommendations and very successfully delivering these competitions and you are doing so against the backdrop of the many, I may say naysayers, who want to make people believe that it would never work.”
What Bach does not understand is that no one is saying that putting on an event that includes Russians won’t work. It is the principle of the act of inclusion of Russians and Belarusians in these so-called non-political Games.
Bach should step down
The history of corruption within the IOC is well documented. Bach apparently is not immune to influence, whether it be directly from Putin or other Russian politicians. His about-face is a red flag. His campaigning on their behalf was telling. The history of doping by Russians goes back to at least the 1970s Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. Fifty years ago. There is a grotesque and checkered history that continues to this day.
At some point during his campaign, Bach reminded the IOC and the media that Russian athletes should be permitted to compete. He let anyone who was listening know that there were many other wars going on at the same time. So, in that case, Russia illegally attacking Ukraine is a perfectly wholesome act of kindness that should be ignored or rewarded.
Bach went as far as to chastise Ukraine for taking a position. Bach penned a letter to Ukrainian National Olympic Committee (NOCU) President President Vadym Guttsait, warning him that threatening to boycott Paris 2024 is against the Olympic Charter — good lord.
Bach’s campaigning on behalf of Russia and Belarus should disqualify him from the opportunity to run, regardless of the proposed Charter change on term. The illegal war on Ukraine should be a non-negotiable. Systematic doping should be a non-negotiable. A Charter change is unnecessary. Being allegedly influenced by others is a non-starter. It is time now for Bach to leave the position.