IOC chooses Ban Ki-moon to oversee ethics reform

A day after basking in the goodwill generated by the historic announcement of Paris and Los Angeles as hosts for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics, it was time for the IOC to focus on the less-enviable task of restoring its tarnished reputation.


After a string of corruption claims involving senior members, the IOC has come under pressure from its own delegates at its meeting in Lima, Peru.

Members voted to elect a new commissioner to oversee IOC ethics.

And it was left to IOC President Thomas Bach to reveal the outcome.

“I am happy to announce the result of the election of the chair for the IOC ethics commission. Yes 74, no 4. Mr Ban Ki-moon, elected president of the IOC ethics commission.”

Secretary-General of the United Nations for almost a decade until his retirement last year, Ban Ki-moon will bring a high international profile to the role.

The 73 year-old succeeds Senegal’s Youssoupha Ndiaye and says he will use his experience at the UN to bring cultural change to the IOC.

“I believe that ethics is essential to the success of any organisation, that is why I did everything possible to strengthen the culture of ethics at the United Nations. And I project transparency and accountability in every way I could.”

And there is a list of cases he will need to focus on immediately.

Head of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and former IOC member Carlos Nuzman is being investigated for corruption in an alleged votes-for-cash scheme to get the Games to Brazil.

Mr Nuzman is still an IOC honorary member and denies any wrongdoing.

But he’s not the only senior figure in the spotlight that has sparked claims the IOC’s been slow to act.

It was only this week Ireland’s former Olympic chief Pat Hickey resigned from the organisation’s executive board after becoming embroiled in a ticket-selling scandal at last year’s Rio Games.

The 72 year-old Mr Hickey also denies the charges.

Another fellow IOC member, Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, has been referenced in United States Court documents as being involved in a bribery case at world soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

Ban Ki-Moon says it’s vital the IOC is respected around the world.

“What is important is that in principle I will work very closely with the IOC members and other sports organisations to make the IOC has the trust and confidence of the international community and I will do my best to enhance accountability and transparency of this great organisation so that we can enjoy trust and confidence from the people around the world.”

One of the biggest issues he faces is the Russian doping scandal.

A World Anti-Doping Agency commission in 2015 found that more than 1,000 Russian competitors in more than 30 sports were involved in a conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests over a period of five years.

While banned from international athletics competition, Russia controversially escaped a blanket ban at last year’s Rio Olympics.

But now a group of the world’s leading national anti-doping organisations is calling for the country to be excluded from next year’s South Korean Winter Games over the alleged state-sponsored doping.

Russia, in response, accuses the anti-doping agencies of fuelling hysteria.

It all comes as the French celebrate the awarding of host city honours to Paris in 2024.

73 year-old Helene is one of those relishing the prospect …

“I’m very happy, it’s a victory for France. We’re not going to complain, we’ve been waiting for it for a long time. I’m very happy, yes. Even if I’m not too involved in sport, I still watch it on television. Yes, I’m very happy.”

….showing that, despite the controversies, the Olympics still have the ability to spark excitement and pride among nations.