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Reedie's IOC failure leaves Britain out in cold, again

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Mihir Bose | 12:54 UK time, Thursday, 7 August 2008

Sir Craig Reedie's failure to get elected to the Executive Board of the IOC shows that Britain is still failing to punch its weight in the corridors of power in world sport.

This has been a persistent British problem going back many decades. The last time Britain had an IOC EB member was nearly half a century ago.

This time it was felt Reedie stood a very good chance of getting elected. London will be the next Olympic city and the IOC tradition is that the IOC member from the next host country gets on the Board to act as the Executive's eyes and ears for the forthcoming Games.

Sir Craig Reedie (right) was influential in helping London win the battle to stage the 2012 Games

There were two general seats up for grabs on the Executive Board here in Beijing.

The curious way the IOC election works sees candidates put their name down for both seats. The problem for Reedie was that he faced two other strong candidates - Richard Carrion and Nawal El Moutawakel.

Carrion, as chairman of Finance, had the backing of President Jacques Rogge; Nawal, as the first Arab woman to win gold in Los Angeles in 1984, ticked all the boxes. If Nawal did not get elected, it would have meant that after Beijing, the Executive Board would have been all-male - hardly the image the IOC would want to project.

Before the election it was felt Nawal would get elected but Reedie might defeat Carrion. Carrion is not as much of a glad hander in the IOC as Reedie, who had done a fair bit more campaigning than Carrion.

But on Wednesday evening, just after the nominations closed, Carrion did a rather clever thing. He got up and said that he was withdrawing from one of the two seats in favour of Nawal to make sure she won.

Reedie had just come of the platform where London 2012 had been making its latest presentation to the IOC session. Carrion caught him by surprise and he had barely two minutes to think about how to respond.

Forced by Carrion in this position, he responded by saying he would also withdraw from one of the two seats to give Nawal an unopposed election. And like Carrion he would contest the other seat, making it a straight contest between the two.

Talking to IOC members afterwards it was clear Carrion's gesture made a big impression on them. Add to this Rogge's support and Thursday morning's result was done and dusted - Carrion got 56 votes to Reedie's 39.

This is the second time Reedie has failed to get elected to the Executive Board. He was philosophical after the result and clearly plans to contest again next year.

He told me: "It would have been an honour to be on the Executive Board between Beijing and London. But I am still confident for the future."

However the larger problem of how Britain achieves that to gain influence and representation on the IOC Executive Board still needs to be addressed.

It is easy to dismiss these men as the blazer brigade, but they run world sports and Britain cannot afford to be out in the cold.


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  • 1. At 3:04pm on 07 Aug 2008, richard crisford wrote:

    who cares? we've got the olympics now. we won't get them again in my toddlers lifetime, and maybee even in his children's.

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  • 2. At 3:55pm on 07 Aug 2008, jamminben13 wrote:

    It seems that anyone who can make a stand against us, does nowadays. The perceived arrogant nature of the Western nations, especially the US and the UK means that any chance somebody or some - body has a chance to vote us down, they do. I only need cite recent events at the Eurovison song contest and on a less serious note, the UN security council and the attempt to implement sanctions against Zimbabwe, to prove my point irrefutably.

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  • 3. At 4:56pm on 07 Aug 2008, Rocketastic wrote:

    Pointless article frankly.

    How is a EB member going to make any difference? We've got the Olympics and we won't have to rely the IOC to get the FIFA World Cup.

    I don't know. Sometimes Mihir seems hell bent on demonstrating that he mingles with the aristocrats in the stratosphere of sport.

    How about exmapling how this makes a difference Mihir? Doping? Corruption? Tell me. Please.

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  • 4. At 4:58pm on 07 Aug 2008, Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Coast wrote:

    As the famous football chant has it 'no one loves us, and we don't care!'

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  • 5. At 8:34pm on 07 Aug 2008, Mark B wrote:

    Is there a better job in Sports Journalism than Mihir Bose's?

    I'm sorry to say this, but time after time, we just get regurgitated rubbish from the so-called Sports Editor.

    It must be nice travelling the world to all these great events, at licence payers' expense, and to write, what is it now, a column a day or not even that?

    It's possibly saying something when I say that this is one of the more interesting articles you've written for us Mr Bose. Some canny political manoeuvring by an IOC Executive Member, but sorry enough is enough.

    As Sports Editor, you might even have been better off at home, editing what appears on the various BBC Media during the Olympics, rather than puffing out the chest, sitting in venues living the highlife and blinding us with your bland descriptions of the atently obvious.

    BBC journalism across the board is usually of the highest standards, at least it used to be.

    I fail, Sir, to see the point of your contributions.

    Angry, not of Tunbridge Wells

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  • 6. At 9:11pm on 07 Aug 2008, DaveyCooper wrote:

    I have inside information that this article is not very good and very boring.

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  • 7. At 10:19pm on 07 Aug 2008, WebbyFoxes wrote:

    Anyone who Critisies Mihir Bose needs to look close into this story.
    This is a very serious issue, we dont have a representative on the board for London 2012, and some twit made the election a bit of a fore-gone conclusion.
    I think people who do critise Mihir should read the last few stories hes covered, they have been good and from the heart of the major organisations and some of us are concerened when us Brits should be punching above our weight.

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  • 8. At 10:53pm on 07 Aug 2008, hackerjack wrote:

    Who cares?

    The press in this country put fa too much stall in who sites on these largely meaninless boards.

    I dont care if a brit is in a position of power in the IOC, FIFA or any other association as long as the people in charge are competent people.

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  • 9. At 00:17am on 08 Aug 2008, Jordan D wrote:

    I'm sorry, how can you criticise Mihir on this article? It provides a valid point and argument on the issues that are currently quite important to the IOC. We are in a situation that is unusual (as noted above) where the forthcoming Summer Olympics has no direct representation on the IOC Executive Board.

    Mihir puts forward his views (it is a blog after all) along with insight from the meeting: I for one didn't have a clue how the EB elections take place and the internal politics of the IOC works - this is insight, and it should be regarded as that, rather than as another opportunity to bash Mihir.

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  • 10. At 02:57am on 08 Aug 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    Nice to see that you name your sources for the quotes for a change.

    I think this is one of your better articles of recent times. It is analysis rather than speculation and gossip. Well done.

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  • 11. At 11:05am on 08 Aug 2008, Rocketastic wrote:


    Please tell me how GB not having a member on the EB makes a blind bit of difference?

    If you can (of if Mihir can) I'll take back my comments and grant some kudos instead of incredulity to this article.

    This article is pointless if Mihir can't explain why such a situation is 'bad' for GB.

    Like I say, I don't fail to see how, at this stage, it could be. Unless we wanted the 2020 games as well!

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  • 12. At 11:43am on 08 Aug 2008, devonbrit wrote:

    Having nobody representing Great Britain on the Executive Board of the IOC is not in the best interests of British sport.Disregard the throw away "what does it matter comments" , the reality of Olympic sport is that it's governing body determines the structures under which we have to compete.If we are not at the table and our views are not represented we are unable to influence decisions.
    The show will go on whether we like it or not, better to be in the ring parading ourselves than outside moaning about the consequences.
    It's a similar situation with the European Union.Now i'm no supporter of the way this government has engineered the adoption of the latest treaty or of many of the impositions foisted upon European countries however the way we can make our voice heard and get our views actioned is by being involved in the decision making process not being mere onlookers.
    It is likely we will make a bid for the football World Cup once more.Well FIFA is another organisation where we are not adequately represented and have not been for some time.It cannot hinder our efforts to secure the tournament by having our elected representative at the top table.
    Lastly Mihir you are right to raise this issue.The organisation of sport cannot be disregarded and we cannot and should not step aside.

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  • 13. At 4:30pm on 14 Aug 2008, Jordan D wrote:

    Rocketastic (#11) - why does it make a difference? Because by having a representative on the Executive Board who has the ear of the President, we (the UK) are able to have an input into the running of an organisation for whom we are putting on the largest, and most complex show on the planet in 2012.

    Having Reedie at that table to really lay out London 2012 and manage expectations from both sides would have aided and supported the operations of a smooth Games.

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