There was a warm welcome feeling about the way the Extraordinary Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in Lausanne was conducted, according to an influential Olympic International Federation (IF) president.
“The Sheikh has a calming presence. He makes people comfortable talking to him and everyone feels they are being heard. The meeting was conducted in an orderly way, and the feeling of easy and welcome access to the microphone by those not on the Agenda was pervasive,” he said.
Rumors about differences of opinion between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) leadership and the ANOC presidents were convincingly rebutted. Sheikh Ahmad expressly emphasized that the reform proposals for the modernization of ANOC had been checked with the IOC President and that the IOC had intensively cooperated on its drafting.
Jacques Rogge called the paper “a fantastic achievement,” and everyone applauded the fact that it had been “outstandingly introduced” by IOC senior-member Kevan Gosper.
The presence of around 15 Olympic Federation presidents and some non-Olympic IFs was considered a confirmation of the close relationship between the two new leaders, Marius Vizer and the Sheikh. This is something the next President of the IOC will have to carefully evaluate to maintain the functional relationship between the “three pillars” of the Olympic movement, as President Samaranch used to refer to them.
An interesting and revealing fact was mentioned by Sheikh Ahmad, that 50, or more than 50%, of the NOCs had never previously visited the headquarters of the IOC. Was this by design or just by the way the previous sports structure was in place? With a fully functioning ANOC headquarters in Lausanne, one should expect to see more interaction between the IOC and the NOCs.
To many NOCs, the presence of IOC members, from countries other than their own, and IF Presidents was welcome but confusing, as most of them have very few opportunities to meet and converse. “We still have to see an active forum between the IFs and the NOCs, hopefully to come in the near future,” said one European NOC president.
Receiving a $12-million donation from the IOC, ANOC will set up its new headquarters in an old building very close to the Lausanne Palace hotel. The renovation work should be completed in summer 2014.
A “very reasonable financing“ is being talked about by IOC board members in connection with the fact that the ANOC president has not spent the sum of more than $600-million available to ANOC in the budget, but only $438-million. The rest should serve as a reserve when the Olympic revenues no longer flow so profusely as they did from London 2012.
Madrid felt a privately shared sigh of relief with the problems Istanbul is facing, and Tokyo again took the low road by immediately emphasizing that “it is a safe city,” implying Istanbul is not. Istanbul is hoping that the protests will be over by the time of the vote in September, but even if they are over, Prime Minister Erdogan’s attitude towards protesters who were labeled “terrorists” will be hard to forget.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl Heinz-Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Mr. Heinz-Huba.