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Volume 24 No. 117


IOC and USOC execs have been “unable to resolve a long-running financial dispute that is blocking any American bid” for the Olympics “despite nearly a year of negotiations,” according to Stephen Wilson of the AP. Both sides had “hoped to reach an agreement on the revenue-sharing issue” by this week's IOC Exec Board meeting, but “now appear resigned to missing that informal deadline and extending the protracted talks into 2012.” IOC Marketing Commissioner Chair Gerhard Heiberg on Friday said, "It is taking longer than what we originally thought." At the “heart of the dispute is a long-standing formula” that gives the USOC a 20% share of global sponsorship revenue and a 12.75% share of U.S. broadcast rights deals. Heiberg will report on the status of the talks “to the executive board, which meets in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday and Thursday.” He said, "We are close, but the last part of the distance has to be solved and we still hope to solve it. We are not in a hurry." USOC Chair Larry Probst will be in Lausanne this week “for separate meetings of the Association of National Olympic Committees, although no formal talks with the IOC on the revenues are scheduled.” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, who “has led the negotiations from the American side, will not be in Lausanne.” Blackmun said, "We continue to be communicating in good faith, and it remains a priority for both organizations" (AP, 12/2).

The Indian government has asked its Olympic association “to raise the issue of the London Olympic Games' sponsorship deal with Dow Chemical, the latest sign of pressure on organisers to reconsider involvement of a company linked to the Bhopal gas disaster,” according to Amlan Chakraborty of REUTERS. An Indian sports ministry spokesperson said, "We have written a letter to the IOA (Indian Olympic Association), asking them to take up the matter with the organisers of the London Olympics." The sponsorship “has caused anger across India, but nowhere more so than the central state of Madhya Pradesh, where chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is urging the Indian government to boycott” the Games. Chauhan said that instead of sponsoring the Games, Dow “should spend that money on Bhopal survivors” (REUTERS, 12/5). Former London Olympics Minister and LOCOG BOD member Tessa Jowell insisted that she “is not undermining the reputation of the London Olympics despite leading a campaign against Dow Chemical over its [US$11M] support for the Olympic stadium, a sponsorship she describes as ‘provocative.’” The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Blitz & Kortekaas note Jowell is “spearheading the campaign, which is supported by MPs and groups such as Amnesty International but has attracted little interest in India beyond Bhopal.” Jowell has “asked to see the documentation that led to the decision to agree [to] the deal with Dow.” But she “denied a conflict between her campaigning and her role on the Olympic Board.” Jowell said that she “was seeking a ‘negotiated solution’ to the Dow sponsorship issue, offering one of two solutions -- that Dow withdraws from sponsoring the stadium wrap or offers what she called ‘a substantial programme of mitigation’” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/5).

SECURITY THREATS: U.K. National Security Advisor Peter Ricketts said that a “dedicated cyber unit is to guard the London Olympics against attack by online fraudsters, extortionists and spies.” Ricketts said there were 12 million “cyber security incidents” at the ’08 Beijing Olympics. He said that the U.K. government “is braced for even more next year.” In London, Roland Watson notes with “millions of pounds expected to change hands online in the coming months for tickets, hotel rooms and flights, the Government has already put months of work into tightening the security of IT networks.” One “particular concern is the threat from online protection rackets to hotel and ticket booking companies, where criminals take over a site and threaten to bring it down with the loss of huge sums of money unless a ransom is paid” (LONDON TIMES, 11/5).