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Pound urges international federations to ‘come clean’ over finances to receive IOC support

Former WADA president Dick Pound (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Dick Pound, the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency and an International Olympic Committee member, has warned international federations to “come clean” about the state of their finances as many of them await monetary support from the IOC amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pound criticised a number of international federations for guarding their financial records “more closely…than nuclear secrets” during an interview with Sailing Illustrated.

World Sailing is among the federations to have already appealed to the IOC for support, asking for an advance on its share of the Olympic Games revenue.

While World Sailing does disclose its accounts and audited financial statements, many international federations, including the high-profile likes of World Athletics, still do not. 

Pound said: “International federations and National Olympic Committees have come to depend, more and more and perhaps to too great an extent, on their share of the revenues.

“The IFs that come to the IOC for help, before any revenue is received or receivable, are going to have to demonstrate a need and have to provide undertakings as to the level and reliability of their financial statements in future.”

Many international federations are heavily reliant on the Olympics as a revenue source. With this year’s Games in Tokyo having been pushed back a year, many international federations will to struggle to make up the shortfall and are facing a cash flow crisis.

The Swiss government has now put measures in place to allow international federations based in the country to access a CHF500m (€467m/$513m) loan fund, which will be part-covered by the IOC.

The loan programme for international federations will be covered in a 50-50 split by the Lausanne-based IOC and the federal and cantonal authorities. The federal council said that certain international federations “are at risk of insolvency, for example due to the cancellation of major national and international sporting events”.

Pound added that the IOC “is certainly capable of doing something [to help beleaguered international federations] because we have been putting money aside for the proverbial rainy day for some years now and have a little bit of a war chest that is available”. However, he went on to say that gaining access to those funds “will involve the IFs coming clean on the actual state of their financial affairs”.

He added: “You can cover up a lot of poor management by the ‘Manna from heaven’ which comes from the Olympics.”