KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) The International Olympic Committee needs to show it is serious about maintaining ethical credibility and staying free of corruption, IOC President Thomas Bach said Thursday.
”We need to demonstrate that we are indeed walking the walk and not just talking the talk,” Bach said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the IOC’s 128th session in Kuala Lumpur.
In a clear reference to the scandal that has rocked FIFA, Bach said, ”These are difficult times in sport, as recent events in other sports organizations have all too clearly shown.”
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”People today demand more transparency and want to see concrete steps on how we are living up to our values and our responsibility,” he said.
Bach also referred to the Salt Lake City bidding scandal 15 years ago that led to the expulsion or resignation of 10 members. The IOC adopted a series of reforms to clean up the organization, including a ban on member visits to bid cities, creation of an ethics commission and establishment of age and term limits.
”We know from our own history how long it takes to rebuild credibility and that implementing best practices with regards to good governance and transparency cannot happen overnight,” Bach said. ”Putting these changes in place has not been an easy process. But we see very clearly today just how these reforms have been for our organization.”
The IOC has sought to distance itself from the problems at FIFA, which is the target of separate U.S. and Swiss investigations. Fourteen soccer and marketing officials were indicted in May on widespread corruption charges.
Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who is an IOC member, is not attending the IOC assembly in Malaysia.
Bach spoke a day before the IOC votes on the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics, choosing between Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan.
In his speech, Bach said the Olympic Channel that the IOC is setting up to promote Olympic sports 365 days a year will help the committee keep up with the digital revolution.
”The only question is: Will it happen with us or without us?” he said. ”The changing media landscape is a true game changer. The Olympic Channel is our game changer to stay ahead of the curve.”