ISTANBUL // The Olympic movement is on sound financial footing but must hold down the size and cost of the games to cope with the global economic downturn, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge said. "The games are not anymore in a growth mode, they are in a conservation mode," Mr Rogge said in an address to the European Olympic Committees. He also said that the future financial backing of the IOC by broadcasters and sponsors, who pump billions of dollars into the Olympics, will depend on successful staging of the games.
"This is what I would call virtual money. If there are no good games, there will be less money," he said. "We must make sure the games do not become too sophisticated, too big and too costly. Every demand to add more sports on the programme, more athletes, more coaches or higher service levels adds to the difficulty of staging good games." Mr Rogge said that the IOC must maintain its cap of 28 sports and 10,500 athletes for the Summer Games, and resist an "underground swell" to increase the number to more than 30 sports.
"In an economic boom, if there are resources that can be committed, it is OK to grow and have bigger games," he added. "It is not a wise thing to do in a period of credit crunch." The 2012 London Olympics will feature 26 sports. Seven sports: golf, softball, baseball, rugby, karate, squash and roller sports are competing for two available slots on the programme for the 2016 games. The IOC will vote on the sports at its meeting in Copenhagen next October. Mr Rogge insisted the financial situation for the next three Olympics, 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, London 2012 and 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, were "secure".
"There is no issue of financing of these three games," he stressed. Mr Rogge did not mention that London, with a budget of £9.3 billion (Dh50bn), is struggling to secure private funding for the athletes' village and has moved some venues to save money. Sochi, with a US$12bn budget, has to build virtually all the venues from scratch. "Contrary to what you might read in some media, there is no danger for the financing of Sochi," Mr Rogge said. "We have received very strong reassurances from the government that the funding is committed and is in place. Construction has started."
Mr Rogge stressed that the IOC's own internal finances were solid. "We have invested very conservatively," he said, adding that the IOC has distributed $300 million in revenues to international sports federations and national Olympic committees over the last four-year cycle and will hand out $311 million in the next four-year period. Mr Rogge said that the IOC has secured about $900 million in global sponsorship revenue for the 2009-12 cycle through deals with nine sponsors.