The International Olympic Committee Needs to Be Reformed

The decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for Russian Olympic Games Sportsmen/women confirms the purity of the vast majority of Russian athletes. At the same time, all 39 cases were analyzed separately from each other, and the CAS commissions dealing with appeals of Russian athletes considered that in 28 cases the IOC’s evidence base is insufficient for the sanctions imposed by the Committee.

However, the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency, to put it mildly, were seriously upset and worried by CAS’s decision.
In addition, the IOC’s Commission unanimously refused admittance to PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games for fifteen Russian athletes. However, those fifteen athletes were vindicated by the CAS verdict. Commenting on this decision, the IOC once again brings out vague arguments that the CAS verdict did not remove suspicions of doping and did not provide enough evidence that Russian athletes can be considered clean.

At the same time, the IOC’s Charter says that all disputable issues should be resolved in sports arbitration. Moreover, the Charter of the IOC does not imply a recourse to a civil law court. Consequently, IOC officials’ references about an appeal to the Swiss Federal Court are puzzling. In this case, the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport must be final and unquestionable. Representatives of the IOC constantly say that they protect the interests of pure athletes. The CAS decided that Russian athletes are clean. However, the IOC does not seem interested to protect them; on the contrary, in every way prevents them from competing in the Olympics.

Once more the recent decisions of the International Olympic Committee prove that the International Olympic movement is going through difficult times. For the athletes, the principle of fair play has always been important, but the IOC does not stand these tests. Obviously, the IOC has become a political organization. Its decisions are taken without any explanation, without any evidence based on facts. But the IOC is not a cowboy office, its objectivity should be maintained at the maximum possible level. By such decisions, the IOC puts itself out of the law.

Commenting on the situation, Thomas Bach, Head of the International Olympic Committee, referred to the dire need for the Court of Arbitration for Sport reform. Unsatisfied with the CAS decision, the IOC is quick to bring out thoughts about its reform. This is a clear sign of degeneration of the original meaning of the Olympic movement and the Olympic spirit of organizations such as the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency - WADA. After all, any democratic system of governance guarantees the existence of an independent judicial system.

Undoubtedly, Thomas Bach is in a difficult, not sporting, but political situation. Therefore, he is looking for such a compromise option, which will help him stay in office. For this, he is ready to do everything, including decision-making contrary to the principles of the Olympic movement, seemingly imposed to him by his American sponsors. The question arises: can the top official who is incapable to take his own independent decisions, lead an organization responsible for the development of the entire world sport?

Obviously, the IOC itself exhibits inability to act within the framework of democratic procedures. It needs to be reformed in such a way so that it becomes impossible to deprive a national delegation of participation in the Olympic Games for political reasons. We need to ensure that the Olympic movement does not become a tool of foreign policy of one state ...