IOC president cautions against profit-driven sports events

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach has called on local governments to resist promoting independently run sports events that he believes go against the Olympic ideal.

Bach says the organizers of profit-driven sporting ventures are “cherry picking” events without sharing the International Olympic Committee’s duty to use profits to help athletes around the world.

He tells the annual IOC meeting that “narrow self-interest” encourages “a purely market-based approach to sport that ignores the values we stand for.”

In swimming, three elite athletes filed an anti-trust case against governing body FINA and others risked bans by supporting a privately owned league. FINA then withdrew the ban threat, increased prize money and launched a new top-tier competition series.

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Bach says some businesses “deserve a profit” for presenting sports in innovative ways. But he adds “what is not fair at all, is that more and more public authorities are ignoring the differences between these purely commercial companies and us, as values-based organizations.”

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