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Volume 10 No. 25


British Olympic Association Chair Sebastian Coe indicated Thursday that the BOA "will go back to basics under his chairmanship, having cut staffing levels by more than half" and ditched many of the areas of the organization from the previous regime, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The London 2012 chairman said his priority had been to put the organization on a more stable financial footing so that it no longer had to live "hand to mouth." Coe said that the organization, which admitted in its latest results that it had taken out a £5M ($7M) overdraft and would require its share of any surplus from the London organizing committee to break even, "would be more collaborative." It would concentrate on a slimmed down role that was "athlete-centric" and focused on supporting British teams at Games-time. Expansive plans for a museum on the Olympic Park "have been scrapped," and licensing and merchandising has been outsourced to global sports marketing giant IMG. The BOA "has slimmed down its staff from around 95 people at the time of the London Olympics to around 45." Coe said that its revenue target of £42M ($64M) over the next four years was not predicated on receiving the £5.2M ($8M) that the BOA could be due if LOCOG "makes a profit" (GUARDIAN, 4/25).

LIFETIME BANS DEFEAT: In London, Ashling O'Connor reported the BOA has "abandoned its push to impose a lifetime ban for drugs cheats as legally unworkable." Coe said "the train had left the station" on the issue as the World Anti-Doping Agency moved toward "doubling the current two-year ban for serious first-time offences." Coe: "I don’t think you will ever get as a first response a lifetime ban. The landscape legally is too complicated." His comments "end any speculation that Britain might continue to be out of step with the rest of the world despite the overwhelming support of British athletes" (LONDON TIMES, 4/25).

WOODWARD'S ROLE AXED: In London, Simon Hart wrote Coe has drawn a line under Clive Woodward's controversial tenure as BOA director of elite performance "by insisting that the BOA will no longer involve itself with coaching athletes or mentoring coaches." One of Coe's first acts was to initiate a review of the BOA's activities and, after several months of consultation, he confirmed on Thursday that the organization was no longer seeking a role on the performance side of Olympic sport and would now be part of a "collaborative landscape" (TELEGRAPH, 4/25).

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that "Russia will not revert to winter time ahead of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi," according to Gennedy Fyodorov of REUTERS. Fans "have complained of the difficulty of following sporting events," such as football's Champions League, taking place in Western Europe after Russia moved to a four-hour time difference with Greenwich Mean Time in '11. IOC chiefs had also hoped that Russia would turn the clock back an hour for next year's Sochi Games, "because that time would better suit the rest of Europe and the Americas" (REUTERS, 4/25).

The Moscow region transportation department on Wednesday "received the first 10 buses to be used at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, out of a total of 709" ordered from Russian commercial vehicles manufacturer GAZ Group. At the beginning of '13, GAZ Group and the state-owned bus company Mostransavto signed a contract worth more than 6B rubles ($180M) to manufacture 282 interregional buses, including 150 specially equipped buses for the disabled, another 370 buses with extended passenger capacity, including 77 specially equipped and 57 smaller tourist buses (MOSCOW TIMES, 4/25). ... Leading administrators for Emirati sport "hope to unearth potential Olympians for as far ahead as the 2024 Summer Games" via the first targeted program for Olympic sports in schools in the UAE. Nearly 1,000 children from 10 areas of the UAE "will take part when the UAE School Olympic Finals reaches its conclusion in Abu Dhabi this weekend" (THE NATIONAL, 4/24). ... The newly elected Rwanda National Olympic Committee President Robert Bayigamba plans to construct an Olympic site "during his first four-year term in office." The former minister of sports and culture "laid out his plans and targets during his first four years in office." Bayigamba: "My first priority is to improve sports infrastructure because it's what the country lacks most, I am well aware of that and it is possible to have things like an Olympic site" (ALL AFRICA, 4/23).