IOC dismisses role of top court in Olympic dispute

IOC dismisses role of top court in Olympic dispute

Published Apr. 1, 2011 6:26 p.m. ET

The highest court in sports should have no jurisdiction in the dispute between British Olympic organizations over revenue from the 2012 London Games, the IOC said Friday.

Denis Oswald, head of the IOC's coordination commission for London, said the International Olympic Committee's own ruling in the case should be considered final. He said there was no reason for the Court of Arbitration for Sport to hear the British Olympic Association's claim for more money.

Also Friday, London organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe called the BOA's court case ''spurious'' and said it was ''depressing'' that the dispute was overshadowing preparations.

The BOA, led by Colin Moynihan, wants a greater share of any surplus from the Olympics. Entitled to a 20 percent cut under a joint marketing agreement signed in 2005, the BOA contends that the potentially money-losing Paralympics should not be taken into account.


The IOC and London organizing committee, known as LOCOG, insist that the cost of both games should be counted, as they have in the past. The BOA rejected the IOC's ruling last month and took its case to CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland.

CAS hasn't said yet whether it will hear the case.

''On a purely legal point of view, we feel that CAS has no jurisdiction over the case,'' Oswald said at the close of a three-day visit to check on Olympic preparations. ''The clause in the marketing agreement said every issue should be included and no other court case should be started by one or the other party. So based on that, we feel that CAS has no jurisdiction.''

Oswald, a Swiss lawyer who has served as a CAS arbitrator, said the IOC will respect any decision made by the court.

''If at the end CAS feel that they do have jurisdiction, then, of course, on the merits we feel we have a very good case,'' he said. ''For us the case is clear. Our role is done.''

Coe expressed increasing frustration with the BOA at a news conference dominated by questions about the messy dispute that has shattered six years of public harmony in Britain's preparations for the games.

''This is a spurious case,'' he said. ''The legal judgment that the IOC have made is probably the best demolition of that case that we can witness. ... They are the only appropriate organization to adjudicate on that.''

There is no guarantee that the Olympics will make a profit, and Coe said his committee's objective is to run a balanced budget.

British Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson rejected the BOA's request this week to help resolve the dispute.

''The government has made its position abundantly clear,'' Coe said. ''The IOC has made its position abundantly clear. We have made our position abundantly clear. I am only saddened at this distraction at a time when our teams across the project are working so cohesively and strategically.''

Coe said the BOA's action undermined the vision put forward during London's winning bid of hosting the Olympics and Paralympics together.

''I find it a little bit depressing that this vision has mutated quite as badly as it has in the past few weeks,'' he said.

Moynihan and BOA chief executive Andy Hunt have been barred from LOCOG board meetings while they pursue the case. Coe hedged when asked if they would be allowed back if a resolution is found.

''It is a judgment for me and my board,'' he said.

The BOA said the issue was about securing a future for British sports after the Olympics.

''We view this as a narrow contractual matter and, as has been the case throughout, we would like to see this resolved quickly and amicably,'' the BOA said in a statement. ''Appealing to CAS was never our preferred route to resolution.''

Oswald, making his eighth inspection visit to London, praised the overall level of preparations with 16 months to go until the games. His commission visited the main venues in the Olympic Park in east London and toured the adjacent athletes' village.

''Altogether we feel quite comfortable to have reached this stage more than a year before the games,'' he said. ''We have not always been in this situation'' in previous host cities.

Oswald cited transportation as an issue for London organizers, noting that moving around the city is ''always a challenge'' in the capital.

Oswald expressed confidence in security for the games and downplayed this week's arrest of a female security guard near the Olympic Stadium site on suspicion of possessing a small amount of explosives. A second person was arrested in Wales as part of the same investigation.

G4S, the company hired to provide security for the Olympics, said its dog teams are licensed to hold small samples of explosives for training purposes.

''The information we have received is that the case is not terrorist related,'' Oswald said. ''It's a kind of side event.''