The tragic fall of the International Olympic Committee
Here we tell the story of the sad fall of the International Olympic Committee into wallowing corruption. We are not accusing every member of the International Olympic Committee of wrongdoing - indeed several of them, honourable and decent people of integrity - have become disgusted with the way the organisation works. They have been sidelined as a result or they have sidelined themselves. Either way, the net result of what the IOC represents today is truly ghastly. And the organisation hides behind international legal immunity it should not benefit from, afforded to it improperly by the Swiss government.
We start with a selective list of the current members of the International Olympic Committee, together with their nationalities, and a denotation of H (honest) or D (dishonest). We think the general public ought to know these things.
Here is the current list. There are 102 members:
Here are some select countries represented:
North Korea: D
Cote d'Ivoire: D
Russian Federation (three representatives): D
Mongolia (two representatives): D
UNHCR-recognised refugee (actually from Kenya): D
Papua New Guinea; D
and of course Kuwait, the most important member, as we shall come to explain.
Before we go any further, we observe that all three Russian members of the IOC should be sanctioned forthwith to prevent their future participation in the IOC. The same is true of all other Russian members of international sporting bodies. Russia's war of aggression in invading Ukraine disqualifies her from the privilege and prestige of participating in the organisation of international sporting tournaments. Russia's WADA (anri-doping) record is also very much to her discredit.
The principal way the IOC works is as follows:
The IOC is vested with (or has vested itself with) authority to make decisions relating to all aspects of the Olympic Games, the Paralympics, and the Winter Olympics, inter alia, that each take place every four years.
In particular the IOC selects the venue from amongst competing bids submitted by different cities around the world, and sets conditions for those cities' participation as host cities, in a series of contractual-type doxuments with the authorities of the hosting city and country.
What could be more harmless and honourabke than that? Quite a lot, as it turns out.
Like the management of a London Gentlemen's Club, the committee selects its own members.
Essentially all the decisions of the Committee are made on a one member - one vote basis.
So Russia gets three votes, not one, on decisions auh as where to hold any particular Olympic Games. Russia is on facted the highest represented country on the International Olympic Committee.
How do members of the IOC decide to cast their votes? There are two categories of answer to this. For many countries whose representatives are honest, they make assessments of bids based upon the quality of the bed, site inspections, infrastructure improvement proposals for both the 'Olympic Village' and the transport and accommodation resources to be available to ticket holders, and so on and so forth.
However for a substantial proportion of IOC members, they cast their votes in a different way. They do what Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sabah, the gloriously criminal international sports financier who is also a renegade member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family, tells them. That includes the delegates of all the countries listed above, more or less.
One reason they do this is that they were elected to the IOC in such a fashion - under Ahmed's tutelage. Therefore if they want to stay members of the IOC beyond a single term (it is a cushy job with little real work and lots of honours and prestige) then they will keep voting as he indicates they should.
The other reason they vote as Ahmed wants is because they were proposed by their country's Sports Minister, and Ahmed is in the business of buying corrupt or developing world countries' Sports Ministers using methods such as enhanced sports scholarships for international universities (in particular but not exclusively US universities) for the offspring and relatives of those Sports Ministers.
In exchange for affirmative votes in favour of a city being awarded an honour such as being the next host of an Olympic Games, Ahmed accepts donations (read: kickbacks) to his various shell company sporting organisations such as the Olympic Council of Asia. Hence Ahmed makes a net positive revenue, as the kickbacks he receives exceed the sport scholarships and other facilitation payments he pays for control of individual IOC members' votes.
Obviously it has taken a while to build up his reputation as a 'sports financier' to keep the various plates spinning; but now he has done so his position is virtually unassailable. It is so endemic that the world of international sports tournaments would barely know how to operate without him
All this continues to apply notwithstanding the fact that Ahmed remains 'temporarily self-suspended' after his forgery conviction by a Geneva court in September 2021, for forging some videos apparently showing his cousin Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah planning a coup d'etat against their common cousin Emir Sabah Al-Sabah who died in late 2020.
What do we do with a system so rotten that it's daily operation is premised upon an offset mechanism of kickbacks versus facilitation payments? It's not going to be easy to reform.
The obvious first step is for Ahmed Al-Sabah to be sent to prison for an extended term, preferably in the United States. He is surely avoiding US territory now, given the existence of an FBI / US Department of Justice investigation into him that will inevitably sooner or later lead to a warrant; so he must be caught in a third country (not a Gulf country that will refuse to extradite him) and be extradited to the United States to stand trial in a US Federal District Court before a jury, to answer for his crimes.
Then the whole system of appointment of IOC members must be changed. Each UN member state should receive one representative. And a system of qualified majority voting should be put in place to prevent totally corrupt decisions being passed by a bare majority of corrupt and developing world representatives. If this makes designation of Olympic Games cities subject to a greater degree of diplomatic negotiations rather than just outright criminal corruption, then so be it.
The IOC should be subject to an independent international legal service of international lawyers from key rule-of-law jurisdictions, that supervises its activities and drafts its contracts: not just Sheikh Ahmed's personal Swiss lawyers.
It is too late for old decisions to be revisited; the investment involved in Olympic Games, over an extended time period, makes that difficult. However a clean break should be established
Thomas Bach, the current head of the IOC, must be forced to resign. If he refuses, the US Department of Justice should indixt him as well.
A clear code of conduct criminalising different sorts of international sports event facilitation payments and kickbacks, should be established by international treaty so that everyone knows the standards and at least in principle the same criminal penalties exist across the world for violation of those standards.
Parallel principles to those set out above should be applied across all international sporting bodies.
The quasi-diplomatic immunity of international sporting organisations, their members and their officials, should be erased. There is no policy justification for granting immunity to international sporting officials many of whom are corrupt.
The PALADINS Organisation stands for the highest standards of integrity and honest dealings in the operation of international sporting organisations. We will not cease to push for these improved standards.