“The IOC faced with centrifugal forces that threaten its survival”

“Sporting events must be organized by sports organizations. » Thomas Bach’s clarification, Tuesday, November 21, before the United Nations General embly, was not just a truism. It also served as a warning. Against Russia, which the IOC President has particularly kept an eye on since Moscow plans to organize the “Friendship Games” in Yekaterinburg in September 2024, just after the Olympic and Paralympic Games (JOP) in Paris.

Relations between Lausanne and Moscow were already execrable after Russia was banned from world sport following the offensive in Ukraine in February 2022. Recently, the IOC hit the nail on the head by suspending the Russian Olympic committeeaccused of having placed under his authority several organizations in occupied Ukrainian regions.

For two years, Russia, whose participation of athletes in the Paris Games has remained subject to the agreement – ​​under conditions – of the IOC, has continued to challenge the authority of the boss of world sport. Like Vladimir Putin, who accuses him of ethnic discrimination » and to use sport as “an instrument of political pressure”.

“Friendship Games”, but also “Future Games” and “BRICS Games” in Kazan in June: Moscow is pulling out all the stops to compete or even undermine the world sporting order built by the IOC. And does not hesitate to use its influence to rally friendly countries to its cause, in particular members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin claims that these initiatives are not replacement options for the JOPs, and that they have no other ambition than to “allow Russian athletes to compete at an international level”.

“The IOC, a colossus with feet of clay”

The threat to the IOC is nevertheless real. He understood it well. In a letter dated October 31, that The world was able to consult, the Olympic Committee enjoins its members, “given the increasing politicization of global sport”not to take part in seditious competitions in the name of respect for the independence and autonomy of sport.

Don’t touch the Games. “Sport is me!” », one could say, by diverting the formula of Louis XIV for the benefit of the IOC. It fits the return to the forefront of geopolitics – with the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas conflicts – the growing expression of the opinions of athletes, the climate concerns and human rights (etc.), the organization is increasingly torn apart by centrifugal forces which endanger its survival.

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