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IOC lifts Brazilian Olympic Committee suspension, approves Tokyo 2020 venues

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has lifted the suspension imposed on the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), while it has approved venues at the 2020 summer Olympic Games for road cycling and race walking, and has outlined its intention to take the Youth Olympics to Africa.

The IOC imposed a provisional suspension on the COB in October, amid the scandal enveloping the organisation and its then-president, Carlos Nuzman. The 75-year-old honorary IOC member, who was the former head of the Rio 2016 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games’ organising committee, was suspended along with the COB amid a probe into an alleged vote-buying scandal.

The sanctions were imposed after Nuzman was arrested amid accusations from prosecutors that he helped divert $2m (€1.64m) to Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in exchange for supporting Rio’s bid for the 2016 Games. Just hours after having arrested Nuzman, prosecutors said that at least another $500,000 was paid to members of the IOC in the build-up to the vote.

The COB has since undergone a series of reforms and on October 31 the IOC permitted it to exercise its membership rights in National Olympic Committee (NOC) associations. Since then, the revision process of the COB statutes and internal governance was finalised in close coordination with the IOC, with the new governance structure formally adopted by the COB General Assembly on November 22 and December 6.

In addition, the COB – together with an independent auditor – conducted a specific review of its internal situation and accounts for the period from 2008 to 2010. The IOC said the independent auditor officially confirmed that the COB accounts were properly audited and approved by the COB General Assembly.

The IOC added in a statement: “Furthermore, it verified that the COB, as a legal entity, was not involved in any manner whatsoever in any of the allegations/charges against Mr Carlos Nuzman in the framework of the ongoing investigation by the Federal Public Prosecutor in Brazil.”

The decision means that the COB is again allowed to receive financial resources from the IOC coming from sponsorships the entity receives. It is expected that COB will receive $2.173.5m corresponding to the remaining balance of 2017, and $3.015m at the end of 2018. During COB’s suspension, the IOC only provided direct support to Brazilian athletes through the Olympic Solidarity Program.

Commenting on the IOC’s announcement, the COB’s new president, Paulo Wanderley, said: “This means that the work and the efforts the Brazilian Olympic Committee has been making in the course of the last three months, based on austerity, meritocracy, and transparency and in conformity with IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, were recognised. We are fully confident that with its new statutes, COB is setting an example of good governance to sport organisations all over the world. We will continue to work hard to reaffirm our commitment to advanced sport management.”

In other news, the IOC has approved the venues for road cycling and race walking events at the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics. Musashinonomori Park will be the starting point of the road cycling events, with special temporary facilities to be set up there.

Fuji International Speedway, a motor racing circuit located near to the Tokyo metropolitan area, will serve as the finishing point of the road cycling race and additionally as the venue for the road cycling individual time trials. The Imperial Palace Garden, one of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, will serve as the venue for race walking events.

Finally, the IOC has decided to propose to its forthcoming Session that the next edition of the summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) takes place in Africa in 2022. The goal is to elect a host city at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires, in October. If the proposal is approved, the IOC said it will proactively contact a number of African NOCs to evaluate the feasibility of this approach. 

Buenos Aires is the destination of the next edition of the summer YOG, from October 6-18 this year. The event was previously held in Singapore in 2010, and Nanjing, China in 2014.