Coe set to reclaim IOC membership with ‘passive’ CSM role

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe at 2019 World Athletics Awards (by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

World Athletics is poised to regain representation within the International Olympic Committee after president Sebastian Coe was nominated for IOC membership following assurances over his role as group chairman of the CSM Sport & Entertainment agency.

Coe has been proposed as one of five new members of the IOC and is the only one whose candidature is linked to a function with an international federation.

For decades, membership of the IOC for the head of athletics’ world governing body was almost guaranteed, but World Athletics, formerly the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has been without representation since the departure in 2015 of Coe’s predecessor as president, Lamine Diack.

Diack, who led the IAAF from 1999 to 2015, is currently facing allegations of corruption at ongoing trial proceedings in Paris. Coe, who won 1,500m gold at the 1980 and 1984 summer Olympic Games, has previously been thwarted from securing IOC membership due to concerns over potential conflict of interest owing to his role at CSM.

However speaking during a virtual news conference following yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) Executive Board (EB) meeting, IOC president Thomas Bach said: “What has changed is that Seb Coe has committed himself to changing his status within the company he’s currently running as managing director [sic] to a passive position. The necessary documentation will be provided to the IOC Ethics Commission by July 1.

“The EB has full confidence in our friend Seb Coe. They have decided to put the candidature forward, subject of course to the delivery of such documentation, upon which the concerns of the IOC Ethics Commission would be gone.”

The remaining four proposed new members are individual members.

They are: Maria de la Caridad Colón Ruenes, Cuban Olympic Committee (COC) board member; Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who served as President of Croatia from 2015 through to February this year; Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States and a board member of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee; and Battushig Batbold, Mongolian Olympic Committee first vice-president and current member of the IOC Marketing Commission.

The nominations will be submitted to the IOC Session, which will be held virtually on July 17.

In addition, the IOC executive board agreed to submit to the Session the extension of the term of Zaiqing Yu from the end of 2021 to the end of 2025. His membership is linked to his function as vice-president of the Chinese Olympic Committee and he was due to reach the age limit at the end of next year. The IOC has proposed the extension due to the “important role that he plays in Chinese sport and society”.

Bach added: “With the election of these five candidates, the IOC Session and the entire Olympic Movement would benefit from an extremely valuable range of skills and expertise. We are also bringing up the female membership to 39.”