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Volume 10 No. 25


With the "illusion of Madrid hosting the 2020 Olympics now vanished, the desert of Spain's economic crisis is extending into Spanish sport," according to EL PAIS. The "public's subsidies have been exhausted" and Spain's Superior Sports Council (CSD) has "run dry." Many Spanish Olympic sports federations "are in financial ruin -- 25 of 63 are in bankruptcy." Federation presidents, who are facing 34% cutbacks in their budgets, "are the main actors in the tragedy." But "not all are in debt," and Royal Equestrian Federation of Spain (RFHE) President Javier Revuelta "is one of the fortunate." An idea championed by Revuelta, the Equestrian Tourism Director Plan (PDTE), "combines three old aspects of the Spanish economy: horse breeding, tourism and sport." Revuelta: "The PDTE that we started in '12 will be a basis for the spread of organized equestrian activity and it will be one of our main generators of our own resources. In Spain, there are 700,000 horses and the equestrian industry contributes €5B ($6.7B) to Spain's GDP and maintains 60,000 jobs. This federation had accumulated nearly €1M ($1.3M) in debt, but through controlled spending and generating our own resources, we paid our debt with the CSD in '09. We have gone from having a subsidy-resources ratio of 80-20 in terms of revenue to now having the inverse proportion." Revuelta referred to "strong Olympic performance as secondary, but announced that the Spanish equestrian team competing in the 2016 Olympics will be the most complete that it has been since '00." Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN) President Fernando Carpena "is in the opposite situation" since the CSD invested a record amount of money in the RFEN during the first years of Spain's economic crisis, "coinciding with a wave of athletic successes." Carpena: "We are in bankruptcy. We recently hosted our best World Championships, with 12 medals this year. But we cannot sustain this with only 40% of what we received in '09." Carpena said that his federation received €2M ($2.7M) for '13 after receiving €4.8M in '09. Carpena said, "We will react or we will take a step back athletically." Spanish Rowing Federation President Fernando Climent "has considered connecting his organization with tourism activity, as the equestrian federation does." But Climent "assured that the organization would have to invest first, and it cannot." Climent: "In central Europe, there are many who row and produce tourism focused on this activity. But it is not easy to attract people. ... I have not stopped looking for private funding, but I always find the same response: that now is not the right time. We depend on the CSD" (EL PAIS, 9/15).       

Newly elected IOC President Thomas Bach "intends to resign from the presidency of an organization purported to support the anti-Israel boycott movement," according to Raphael Ahren of the TIMES OF ISRAEL. Bach is the chairman of Ghorfa, the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Founded in '76, the organization "is accused of helping companies make sure they avoid any trade with Israel." Bach "also came under fire from Jewish groups for opposing a minute of silence for the Israeli victims of the Munich 1972 terror attack during last year’s Olympic Games in London." German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) spokesperson Christian Klaue said, "He will resign as the president of Ghorfa." Klaue said that Bach "had promised to step down from all his other positions bar one" -- the chairmanship of the supervisory board at Weinig AG, a wood processing company based in his hometown of Tauberbischofsheim -- if he got elected to head the IOC (TIMES OF ISRAEL, 9/15). HAARETZ reported Bach "decided to resign from his other positions before it was announced that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had written to the United Nations to urge him to step down from Ghorfa, which they say is an anti-Jewish organization" (HAARETZ, 9/16).

CHANGING THE MINDSET: The AFP reported Bach said that "he had another goal -- that of fundamentally changing the mindset of cities that bid for the Olympic Games." He said, "I want to see a new approach to the bidding process. At the moment in our bid process we are asking too much, too early of the candidates. Honestly I can say that before I go into a Question and Answer session with the bid cities for no matter what Olympic Games I already know the answers, because I have heard them all before. I would like to try and change this mentality" (AFP, 9/16).

Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia Secretary Edwin Chong said that Malaysia "needs to develop a full range of technical expertise and have full Government backing before it can make a serious bid to host the Olympic Games," according to THE STAR. Chong added that Malaysia "could consider itself ready to stage the Olympics, at the least, 15 years from now." Chong said that "aside from the infrastructure, the country must have the technical competency" for the IOC to consider Malaysia. He added that the experience of hosting a successful Commonwealth Games in '98 "was not enough." Chong: "The Commonwealth Games consists of only 16 sports. If the Government really wants to try for the Olympics (with at least 28 sports), they must provide unconditional backing to let the respective sports associations make a bid for the world championships first" (THE STAR, 9/16). THE STAR's Daniel Khoo wrote hosting a major sporting event such as the Olympics "is not only a difficult task, but is also a capital-intensive exercise in its own right." RAM Holdings group Chief Economist Yeah Kim Leng said, "Hosting an international event of this scale would require a lot of capital upfront, not forgetting the period before the event where money, time and effort would be needed to develop local sporting talents." Yeah added that such a huge expenditure, usually borne by the government, "would have big multiplier effects on the economy, and the host country would usually see almost immediate spillover effects for a certain number of years until the event date" (THE STAR, 9/16).

The Russian Int'l Olympic University, or RIOU, "opened with great fanfare on Monday in Sochi, the host city for next year's Winter Games." It is "the first university established in conjunction" with the IOC and "aims to provide former athletes with education to help them build a career after their competitive days are over" (MOSCOW TIMES, 9/16). ... South Korea on Monday "celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first Olympic Games held on its soil." The country's leading sports officials and former Olympic medalists "were on hand to mark the quarter-century anniversary of the 1988 Seoul Olympics." The ceremony "was held at the Seoul Olympic Museum in the nation's capital" (YONHAP, 9/16). ... A "memorandum of understanding that focuses on free blood tests for Cambodian athletes as well as their health was signed" by National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Secretary-Deneral Vath Chamroeun and NOCC Sport Medicine & Science Centre President Lee Han during a ceremony on Saturday morning (PHNOM PENH POST, 9/16).