IOC member-in-waiting Coe set to take back seat at CSM
By Jonathan Rest
Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, was today finally nominated for membership of the International Olympic Committee after agreeing to take "a more passive role" at UK-based sports agency CSM Sport & Entertainment, IOC president Thomas Bach revealed.
Sportcal understands Coe will transfer from executive chairman of CSM to a non-executive chairman position.
Track and field is one of the Olympic Games biggest draws, but its international governing body has been without representation at the IOC since Coe’s election as World Athletics (then IAAF) president in 2015.
Coe was told back in December that he would have to wait a bit longer for a seat at the IOC, because his role at CSM had flagged potential conflict of interest concerns with the IOC ethics commission.
Bach said at the time: “CSM consults a wide range of sports organisations and stakeholders of the Olympic Movement, including having contractual partnerships with the IOC itself.
“In this ongoing consultation Seb Coe, at the end of November, informed us that at this moment he would not be able to address this issue of compliance with the position of the ethics commission, but that he continues to work to resolve this issue.”
When asked what had changed, the IOC president, speaking after today's executive board meeting, said: "He has committed himself to change his status within the company CSM... to a passive position. The necessary documentation will be provided to the IOC ethics commission by 1 July."
Coe’s business responsibilities have given rise to conflict of interest concerns before, with the Briton having eventually ended his long-running paid ambassadorial role with US sportswear giant Nike three months after being elected World Athletics president in August 2015.
He only broke his ties with Nike when it was alleged he lobbied for Eugene in Oregon, USA, which is close to Nike’s headquarters in Portland, to be awarded hosting rights to the 2021 IAAF World Championships. Coe has denied those allegations.
He has maintained his role at CSM, albeit did announce when he took office at World Athletics that the agency will not tender for the federation’s contracts nor work with cities bidding for its events while he is at the helm.
Ahead of his World Athletics election, Coe vociferously denied any conflicts of interest, including in his role at CSM, saying that there was “no president in or seeking office who has more transparency.”
He was previously head of the local organising committee for the acclaimed London 2012 Olympic Games.Coe is now set to be rubber-stamped as an IOC member at the session on 17 July, along with four other candidates proposed today: Maria de la Caridad Colon from Cuba; Kolinda Grabar, the former president of Croatia; Mongolia's Battushig Batbold, a member of the IOC marketing commission, and executive chairman of Altai Holdings, one of the country's largest conglomerates; and Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to USA.
Princess Reema is also a member of the Saudi royal family, and her nomination comes four months after the IOC was among a group of sporting bodies and federations that wrote to the US government to keep Saudi Arabia on a high priority watch list over piracy issues, principally its harbouring of media platform beoutQ, which has been stealing premium sports content.