No Place for Coe at Top Table
LONDON: Sir Craig Reedie, an International Olympic Committee executive board member, believes Sebastian Coe would make an ideal IOC member. He said so last week when London celebrated one year to go to its Games.
“A remarkable combination of many different skills,” according to Reedie. Dennis Oswald, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2012 Games, agrees, saying he would welcome him.
Certainly, few can match his credentials, a double Olympic champion, successful businessman, politician, chair of a Games organising committee and a vice president of an international sports federation.
There is, it would appear, only one problem. Lord Coe will be a senior citizen claiming his pension before room becomes available on the IOC for him.
The rules introduced in 1999 allow only one member from each country, unless they are eligible in their capacity as a president of an international federation, NOC, or are elected for a defined period to the Athletes Commission as an active athlete.
Britain has four members currently. Two have their places for a specified period, Sir Philip Craven as president of the International Paralympic Council and Adam Pengilly who can serve until 2018 as an athletes’ commission member. Neither need be replaced by Britons.
Then there is Reedie himself, elected in 1994 and so eligible to remain until he is eighty. That exactly matches the year of Coe’s 65th birthday. And there is Princess Anne, eligible to remain until 2030 by when Coe will be beyond the eligible age. Both must go before any other Briton becomes eligible.
So no room at the top table for Lord Coe however well he organises next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, a situation which can only change if he was to be elected president of the International Amateur Athletic Federation. That cannot happen before 2015.
So a man extremely qualified will be denied further use to the Olympic movement once the Games are over next year. A nonsense, of course, but it was ever thus.
Few chairmen of successful Games organising committees are invited into the IOC to share their expertise. Peter Ueberroth, who transformed the Games’ prospects by chairing the 1984 Games to a near $250 million profit, was utterly ignored. Indeed, one year later the IOC elected instead an American later thrown out for using the role for personal profit.
Gerhard Heiberg, the Norwegian elected after organising a fabulously successful Winter Games in 1994, is a rare exception, and he has proved an invaluable addition to the IOC.
Perhaps as well as having 15-strong categories of membership for international federation presidents, NOC presidents and active athletes, the IOC should consider one for those from organising committees. It is a waste that such expertise is lost to the Olympic Movement.
A few comments.
I certainly agree that Seb is an obvious candidate for IOC membership. It would be almost a crime for him not to be made so. Indeed, I can even see him as a future IOC president after the expected Bach regime.
The article/blog above, though, does seem a tad pessimistic, though. It may well be right when it comes to official eligibility rules for the IOC, but I also thought that the president had the discretionary power to nominate IOC individual members from outside the strict quotas and usual ranks. Can anyone confirm if that's so?
Personally, I would be strongly surprised if Seb is not at least awarded the IOC's Gold Order at next year's closing ceremony and perhgaps even named as an IOC member designate at the same time.