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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. LA28 CEO: “About 64 or 65% of all revenues have been contracted”
2. IBA rips IOC, promises more money, asks for unity
3. FIFA agrees on European TV deal for Women’s World Cup
4. Ingebrigtsen eyes world 1,500 m record at home Bislett Games
5. Injured Tokyo 100 m champ Jacobs asks for fan support
Los Angeles 2028 chief executive Kathy Carter told a Los Angeles City Council committee that finances for the 2028 Games are on track and that almost two-thirds of the revenue side of the $6.9 billion budget is under contract. Umar Kremlev, the Russian head of the International Boxing Association, slammed the International Olympic Committee’s move to withdraw recognition of its role in the Olympic Movement, and said in an open letter that the IBA would ask for a review from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, provide millions more in prize money for boxers in the future and asked for unity from the national federations. FIFA announced an agreement with the European Broadcasting Union for television rights for the upcoming Women’s World Cup, ending a spat with the broadcasters from France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain over fees. No terms were disclosed, other than an agreement to increase women’s football programming in the future. The annual Bislett Games in Oslo come Thursday, with home favorite Jakob Ingebrigtsen taking aim at the world record in the men’s 1,500 m after shattering the two-mile world best in Paris last week. Tokyo Olympic men’s 100 m sensation Lamont Marcell Jacobs apologized to his fans on Twitter for his poor showing in Paris and his continued injuries, and asked for future support.
● Panorama: Paris 2024 (air taxi service being planned!) = Commonwealth Games (2: Commonwealth Games Federation releases 2023-34 strategy; Victoria’s smaller cities ask for state investment for 2026 Games) = Russia (2: Spain refuses Russian U-20 wrestlers for European Champs; fencer with social-media support of war removed from European Champs) = Athletics (London Diamond League meet gets UK Sport bail-out) = Football (4: Amnesty Int’l alleges worker abuse at Qatar World Cup; Samoura to retire; CONCACAF and FIFA in joint marketing partnership; U.S. men face Mexico in Nations League semi) = Gymnastics (Olympic records in each event!) = Swimming (2: McKeown scares own 100 m Back world record; Marchand wins fourth at French nationals) ●
LA28 CEO: “About 64 or 65% of all revenues have been contracted”
“Relative to inflation, we have accounted for that. Today, we have about 64 or 65% of all revenues have been contracted. We have only spent 4%, and actually obligated 8% of the overall budget. And that actually allows us to be able to react to any inflationary pressures, and so we’re very confident that the budget continues to remain as it has, unchanged at $6.9 billion.”
That’s LA28 chief executive Kathy Carter, during a Tuesday appearance in front of the Los Angeles City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on the 2028 Olympics and Paralympic Games, chaired by District 5 Council Member Katy Yaroslavsky.
Carter and others from the LA28 organizing committee were on hand to answer questions about their annual report filed with the City and which was reviewed by the Ad Hoc Committee.
The City Council’s budget hawk, District 2 member Paul Krekorian, asked about how the current financial situation compares with the organizing committee’s financial plan. Carter was quite positive:
“We are right where we need to be, and in fact, we are, again, at 64-65% of contracted revenues. We’re well ahead of where any other organizing committee would have been at this point, so we feel cautiously optimistic with all of the revenue targets. And because of how far we are on the revenues, it allows us to have great fidelity, if you will, on how and what we’re spending the dollars on, because as we all know, the immovable object for LA28 is a balanced budget, and I would stress as well, we have – and continue to have – a $615 million contingency that’s built into the expense budget.”
The financial statements in the report, for the calendar year 2021, showed a $74.4 million loss, but with $212.9 million in deferred revenue that is not yet recognized and $82.2 million in cash-on-hand. Carter explained:
“The cash that is actually in the door, typically it’s coming from a variety of areas. No. 1, it’s the broadcast distributions that are given to us by the [International Olympic Committee], who is responsible for selling all of our media rights, and so that’s a contracted income and that’s something that they’ve already started to pay.
“Second is obviously what we call intellectual property rights, so that’s for the sponsorship and consumer products rights, but because, obviously, we won’t be hosting the Games until 2028, we’re not actually ‘realizing’ those revenues, even though we have the cash in the door.”
She also added that the spending so far is fully shown on the financial statements:
“When I say we have spent 4% of the overall budget, and when we say we have contracted or essentially have earmarked 8%, that is for things like the Youth Sports Program, where we have a contractually-obligated responsibility, so we are actually, right now, it’s where and how much we’ve actually spent.”
Concerning the Youth Sports Program, which will receive $160 million in direct donations from LA28 through the middle of 2028, Carter said the program reach was stalled during the Covid pandemic, but is now expanding:
“I think the key thing for us … is expanding to all available City parks where the economic requirement is there. We have already impacted almost 100,000 kids in their ability to [get] either free or low-cost access to the program, and so we are process of both catching up to the years that we weren’t able to fund the program via Covid, and we feel that we’re on pace to make sure that every kid that wants to play, can be a part of this program, [which] will be available.”
Carter also told District 7 Council member Monica Rodriguez that LA28 has “about 14,000 hotel room nights” currently under contract and will be adding to that total, but that the organizing committee’s requirements still leave room for fans to book rooms during the Games period.
Those hotels which LA28 has contracted have “benchmark rate” clauses to ensure against gouging, but this would not apply to properties which the organizing committee is not involved with.
Observed: This was a generally upbeat report, especially in view of Carter’s comment that about two-thirds of LA28’s projected $6.884 billion revenues have been committed. There’s no secret about where this roughly $4.6 billion is coming from:
● The IOC, in the host city contract, pledged $1.535 billion in direct support, from broadcast rights and TOP sponsorships, about 22.3% of the LA28 budget total.
● LA28 has negotiated multiple domestic sponsorship agreements which are paying some money now, but much more later.
● Although tickets are not on sale yet, LA28 was involved in negotiations with the IOC for the appointment of On Location as the exclusive purveyor of hospitality and travel packages for the 2028 Games. A large guarantee was undoubtedly part of their agreement.
● LA28 has a merchandise agreement with Fanatics, which is also paying very significant sums for the right to sell licensed items of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Youth Sports Program funding of about $18 million a year is being paid from the $180 million in broadcast rights fees advanced by the IOC from 2018-22, and which has now been received by LA28.
IBA rips IOC, promises more money, asks for unity
Faced with expulsion from the Olympic Movement at a special meeting of the International Olympic Committee on 22 June, International Boxing Association President Umar Kremlev (RUS) sent an open letter to his national federations on Wednesday and, true to form, stayed on the offensive:
“As you may already be aware, on 7 June 2023, the IOC Executive Board made a recommendation to the IOC Session regarding the withdrawal of IBA’s recognition by the IOC. It is with great concern that we witness the hastily convened online meeting of the IOC Session scheduled for 22 June 2023. The rushed nature of this meeting raises questions about the democratic processes within the organization that oversees the Olympic Movement. It appears that the IOC administration intends to limit the time available to IOC members to fully familiarize themselves with all relevant documents, including the IBA’s position. This raises concerns of potential bias and manipulation of facts, transparency, and integrity. The IBA has taken the necessary steps to appeal this recommendation at the Court of Arbitration and Sport (CAS).
“I must emphasize that the IOC members are on the verge of making a grave historical mistake for the Olympic Movement. Despite the challenges we face, I want to assure you that the IBA will remain independent and steadfast in upholding Rule 25 of the Olympic Charter, which guarantees each International Federation’s autonomy and independence in governing its sport. We will not allow our independence to be compromised, nor will we permit division within our organization.
“It is important for us to remain calm and not succumb to panic or provocations. The IBA has no issues with the IOC or the Olympic Movement as a whole. Our challenges lie with a few individuals within the IOC leadership who prioritize personal interests and biases over the well-being of the sport.”
Kremlev goes on to repeat his allegations that the IOC is covering up for former AIBA President C.K. Wu (TPE), who resigned from the IOC in 2020. And Kremlev promises more prize money for boxers in the future:
“We, too, shall emerge as winners rising above the current situation. …
“I would also like to inform you that we are continuously striving to enhance the quality and spectacle of our competitions, as well as increase the attractiveness for boxers. Starting next year, the prize fund for the IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships will be $10 million, and the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships will have a prize fund of $5 million. Additionally, the continental championships this year will feature a prize fund of $1 million, increasing to $2 million from next year onwards. Beyond that, for the first time in history we will award prize money for fifth place.
“Furthermore, we are committed to developing the World Boxing Tour, which will expand to include more countries with the support of the IBA. This initiative aims to provide boxers with greater opportunities to showcase their skills on a global stage. The prize money for Golden Belt Series will be increased to $500,000, for Silver Belt it raised to $350,000, and $250,000 for the Bronze Belt. The prize fund for the ultimate Diamond Belt has increased to $1,000,000. In addition, for our Champions’ Night, we will select boxers amongst the top 15 and they will receive prize money for the pro-style fights.
“Lastly, I want to remind you of the existence of the IBA Financial Support Program (FSP). National Federations requiring assistance for participation in competitions, or the implementation of individual projects can avail themselves of the FSP. In the upcoming 2023/2024 financial year, each National Federation will be eligible for a grant of $50,000 under this program, and in the following year, this will be raised to $100,000.”
And he took a swipe at the in-formation World Boxing group:
“I encourage you to remain loyal to the IBA and resist the temptation to align with fraudulent organizations that lack substance. The IBA’s worth is demonstrated through our actions, while these fraudulent entities merely exist through websites and press releases.”
Observed: None of this is going to matter if the IOC Session approves, as expected, the removal of recognition of the IBA as the designated international federation for boxing. The appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport is a long shot and will take months to complete, perhaps even going beyond the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
What will be fascinating will be to see how the IBA handles the lengthy period between 22 June and whenever the eventual Court of Arbitration for Sport decision is issued. How will it be funded? Who will fund it? Will it become essentially a development organization for the World Boxing Association, with which is signed a collaboration agreement in November 2022?
And what happens to the national boxing federations once the IBA is no longer recognized by the IOC? Stay tuned.
FIFA agrees on European TV deal for Women’s World Cup
The high drama over broadcast of the FIFA Women’s World Cup starting in July to France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain ended on Wednesday with the announcement of a deal, not with individual broadcasters in these countries, but with the European Broadcasting Union.
The EBU, a consortium of European public broadcasters which has acquired rights for most or all of Europe for major events like the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games for decades, already had an agreement in place to televise the Women’s World Cup in 28 territories, but not in these five large markets, or in Ukraine.
The new agreement extends EBU’s deal – on undisclosed terms – to 34 territories, including Ukraine, but also included “a substantial additional commitment to the regular transmission of women’s football content beyond the tournament.”
Said FIFA President Gianni Infantino (SUI), “As part of this agreement, the EBU has committed to working towards broadcasting at least one hour of weekly content dedicated to women’s football on its own digital platform and broadcaster network. This will provide a huge promotional and exposure opportunity for women’s football, which is a top priority for us in line with FIFA’s commitment to the long-term development of the sport.”
The identified broadcasters in the major European markets were ARD and ZDF (Germany), BBC and ITV (UK), France Televisions, RAI (Italy) and RTVE (Spain).
Infantino had threatened a blackout of the tournament in those countries if rights fee offers were not increased, and intense negotiations had been underway for several weeks. Now, the tournament will be on television and the financial aspects likely won’t be known until several months after it concludes and the next FIFA financial report is filed.
Ingebrigtsen eyes world 1,500 m record at home Bislett Games
There’s no doubt that Norwegian middle-distance superstar Jakob Ingebrigtsen is in shape. At the Meeting de Paris last Friday, he smashed the world best in the men’s two-mile with a brilliant 7:54.10 clocking, running the first mile in 4:00.3, then finishing at 3:53.8!
So, coming home to run in the famed Bislett Games on Thursday in Oslo, could he have his eye on the 1998 world 1,500 m mark of 3:26.00 by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj?
You bet he does. He’s already no. 8 all-time with his best of 3:28.32 from his Tokyo Olympic victory in 2021. And he has his main protagonist – Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot – in the race in Oslo, currently the world leader in 2023 at 3:31.47. Plus three others who have also run under 3:30: Mohamed Katir (ESP: 3:28.76), Josh Kerr (GBR: 3:29.05) and Kenyan Abel Kipsang (3:29.56) and a host of other stars.
That’s the final individual event on the track, with multiple prior attractions, including the season debut of Olympic 400 m hurdles champ and world-record holder Karsten Warholm (NOR), against American C.J. Allen; the men’s 200 m with American teen star Erriyon Knighton, the 400 m with Rio 2016 champ Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) and world leader Muzala Samukonga (ZAM), and the men’s 5,000 with Ethiopia’s two-time World Indoor 3,000 m champ Yomif Kejelcha (12:46.79 lifetime) against Olympic 10,000 m bronze medalist Jakob Kiplimo (UGA: 12:48.63 lifetime) and others.
The women’s sprints feature Marie-Josee La Tou (CIV: 10.78 this season) and Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson (10.78) in the 100 m; world leader Femke Bol (NED) in the 400 m hurdles and Olympic champs Yulimar Rojas (VEN) in the triple jump and American Valarie Allman in the discus.
Oh yes, and there is Mondo Duplantis (SWE) in the men’s vault, against 6 m opponents including Americans Chris Nilsen and Sam Kendricks, Ernest John Obiena (PHI) and 2012 Olympic winner Renaud Lavillenie (FRA).
It should be great. In the U.S., the meet is on the Peacock streaming service from 2-4 p.m. Eastern, with a replay on Saturday on CNBC at 3 p.m. Eastern.
Injured Tokyo 100 m champ Jacobs asks for fan support
In Tokyo, Italian sprinter Lamont Marcell Jacobs – born in El Paso, but moved to Italy as a toddler – was on top of the world. He won the Olympic gold at 9.80, a European record and moving him to no. 10 all-time.
In 2022, he won the World Indoor 60 m title, but injuries knocked him out of the World Championships in Eugene. He rebounded to win the European Championships in Munich in 9.95, but injuries continued to plague him.
The critics got loud after his 10.21 seventh-place finish at the Meeting de Paris last week, and so Jacobs posted a long message – in Italian – on Twitter on Wednesday (computer translation):
“I’ve been wanting to write something to you for some time, but I’ve never been able to find the right words. But now I feel the strong need to tell you how I feel, it is correct that you know.
“I started the outdoor season and unfortunately it didn’t go the way I wanted. Yet, despite having been stopped for almost a month due to my physical problem, despite knowing that I was in no way ready to achieve the results we all hoped for, I chose to take the field anyway, knowing full well that probably many would not have understood that the result of that race was not the goal I set for myself.
“It was important that I get back on track. It was thrilling to feel the joy bursting in my chest when I entered the stadium, to feel the adrenaline in my body, to feel the warmth of the crowd and to see the gazes of my opponents. How I missed it! I felt good on the starting blocks and started like I haven’t done in a while, but then my legs didn’t support that effort until the end, the necessary training was missing and you know the result.
“And inevitably came the criticisms, attacks, teasing of those who do not know and even imagine how complicated the life of a professional athlete can be. In an instant all the results achieved seemed to be worth nothing.
“And I’m very sorry, because it would be nice if I could be supported in such complicated moments. But I don’t want to let all of this affect me and make decisions that aren’t the right ones for me.
“I want to remind you that I am a human being and I push my body to give 110% continuously, and I sweat, toil and spit blood every single day of my life to achieve really challenging goals.
“I have many fears, but I am aware of all those, many, that I have faced and overcome. And I will be reborn again, overcoming the obstacles that life is putting in front of me again.
“I will succeed, because I will never let anything or anyone stop me from dreaming and fighting to reach my goals!
“See you soon and I hope to find you by my side once again.”
It’s not easy. Nothing is.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● The French transport minister, Clement Beaune, said on Tuesday that the Olympic transport plan is on track, with shuttle buses being added to support some railway lines in western Paris which may become overcrowded.
More enticing perhaps was the mention that, subject to safety approvals, five lines of “air taxis” are being planned, but without any more details. What kind of accreditation will be needed to ride those?
● Commonwealth Games ● The Commonwealth Games Federation released its 2023-34 strategic plan, “Commonwealth United” on Wednesday, designed “to deliver inspirational and impactful Games, excite and empower athletes and young people, and drive equality in sport and society across the Commonwealth.”
The 22-page report speaks to the impact of sport on athletes and society, pledges support for environmental and social values, but lists no specific projects, timelines or tactics to achieve them. The Commonwealth Games includes 72 nations and territories and started as the British Empire Games in 1930, but has had difficulty of late in establishing a clear reason-for-being and therefore limited interest from potential host cities.
After a very successful edition in Birmingham (ENG) in 2022, the next CWG is scheduled for Victoria (AUS) in 2026.
Regional Cities Victoria, a council of the 10 largest cities outside of Melbourne, released its own plan for the 2026 Commonwealth Games last week, but with specific intentions and a call for investment from the state government. In specific:
“Regional Cities Victoria (RCV) welcomes the focus on ensuring that a by-product of the Games will be a permanent increase in the amount of social and affordable housing in the four regional centres homing athletes. Upgrades to sporting infrastructure will also help attract more major events of international significance to Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, the Latrobe Valley, and Shepparton in the future.”
● Donation of all sports equipment used back to sports organizations
● Free cultural activities sponsored by the Victorian government
● An A$30 million tourism campaign (A$1 = $0.68 U.S.)
● A$2 million for each regional city to repair sports venues
● A$30 million for new green spaces and repairs to existing ones
The RCV document also asks for integration of regional tourism offers with ticket sales, and “supported accommodations for 16-to-21-year-olds to become Games volunteers.”
The asks are clear; now starts the lobbying effort at the State capital in Melbourne.
● Russia ● According to the Russian news agency TASS, Spain has refused to issue visas for Russian wrestlers for the European U-20 Championships in Santiago de Compostela from 26 June to 2 July. United World Wrestling announced on 4 April that it is allowing Russian wrestlers to compete as neutrals.
The Russian team was allowed to compete at the European U-17 Championships in Tirana (ALB) without incident, but is being shut out in Spain.
Ukrainian officials and a Ukrainian athlete-monitoring site have pointed to supporting social-media activity by Russian Sabre fencer Valeria Kobzeva, 22, who had been approved by the Federation Internationale de Escrime (FIE) to compete as a neutral at the European (individual) Championships in Plovdiv (BUL) this weekend.
TASS reported that, on Wednesday, Kobzeva was removed from the entry lists; five Russians are still entered.
● Athletics ● Cash-strapped UK Athletics was promised up to £150,000 (~$189,960 U.S.) to support losses from the Diamond League meet in London on 23 July by UK Sport.
The money comes from funding provided to UK Sport by the National Lottery; said UK Sport chief Sally Munday: “We want the UK to remain on the Diamond League calendar and for the event to become financially sustainable as quickly as possible.”
● Football ● Amnesty International posted a Wednesday statement alleging broken promises, lack of payment and difficult working conditions at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. In part:
“A new Amnesty investigation has found serious labour abuses occurred in the employment of security guards and marshals at the World Cup which were not properly addressed by either the Qatari authorities or FIFA.
“Amnesty spoke to 22 men from Nepal, Kenya and Ghana who were among thousands of migrant workers employed on short-term contracts by the Qatar-based company Teyseer Security Services to work as marshals and security guards at FIFA World Cup sites. The men worked in the lead-up to the tournament and during the event itself, and were stationed at various busy locations, including the Khalifa International Stadium, FIFA fan zones, the Corniche, and both in and outside the metro station in Souk Waqif in Doha.
“All of the workers interviewed said that Teyseer’s representatives, or recruitment agents who supplied the company, made false promises such as suggesting that they could take up more senior roles and earn an extra £220 a month, or stay and work in Qatar beyond the three-month contract period, or earn potential bonuses. Once in Qatar, however, nothing materialised.”
Teyseer denied the allegations; FIFA said it will ask for more information.
FIFA announced that Fatma Samoura (SEN), 60, for the last seven years the federation’s Secretary General, would retire at the end of the year.
She came to FIFA in 2016 after a career at the United Nations, working in the World Food Programme, Deputy Humaniatrian Coordinator for eastern Chad, and other positions. She became the first female Secretary General and the first not to be a European.
FIFA and CONCACAF announced a joint marketing partnership for events in the region on the road to the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.:
“This ground-breaking initiative will provide brands and prospective partners with a unique opportunity to truly impact the global game at a hugely important moment in its growth in North America, and the entire Concacaf region, over the next three years with compelling national team football tournaments.”
The targeted events initially include the CONCACAF Gold Cups in 2023 and 2025 and the CONCACAF Nations League for 2023-23 and 2024-25, and the CONCACAF W Gold Cup for February 2024.
The U.S. men’s National Team will be back in action on Thursday with a CONCACAF Nations League semifinal match against Mexico in Las Vegas at 7 p.m. Pacific time, to be shown on the Paramount+ streaming service in English and Univision in Spanish.
The Americans won the inaugural Nations League title in 2020 with a 3-2 win over Mexico in extra time in Denver, Colorado, on a penalty kick by midfield star Christian Pulisic in the 114th minute. The U.S. is riding a 3–0-2 mark against Mexico in its last five matches, with ties in the last two.
Canada will play Panama in the other semi, with the final scheduled for Sunday (18th) at 5:30 p.m. Pacific time.
The U.S. men will be back in action on the following Saturday (24th) as defending champions in the first of three group-stage matches in the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Jamaica, at Soldier Field in Chicago.
● Gymnastics ● The Federation Internationale de Gymnastique has intensified its online profile and is discovering statistics as a welcome source of stories, such as Wednesday’s post on essentially the “Olympic records” on each apparatus!
These best marks are, of course, all made after the 2006 change in the scoring structure which ended the 10-point system and awards both execution and difficulty. The best scores:
● Floor Exercise: 16.133, Shirai Kenzo (JPN), 2016
● Pommel Horse: 16.100, Xiao Qin (CHN), 2008
● Rings: 16.650, Chen Yibing (CHN), 2008
● Vault: 16.800, Marian Dragulescu (ROU), 2008
● Parallel Bars: 16.475, Huang Xu (CHN), 2008
● Horizontal Bar: 16.533, Epke Zonderland (NED), 2012
● Vault: 16.233, McKayla Maroney (USA), 2012
● Uneven Bars: 16.900, Nastia Liukin (USA), 2008
● Balance Beam: 16.225, Shawn Johnson (USA), 2008
● Floor Exercise: 15.966, Simone Biles (USA), 2016
The U.S. sweep in the women’s events is remarkable, and a tribute to their originality and competitive achievement.
The FIG story did not include the All-Around; there, the top scores were both from 2008: Wei Yang (CHN) at 94.575 for the men, and 63.325 for Liukin in the women’s competition. Congrats to the Olympic record holders!
● Swimming ● At the Australian World Championships Trials in Melbourne, Kaylee McKeown, the Tokyo Olympic 100-200 m Back gold medalist, sizzled with a 57.50 win and took the world lead for 2023.
It’s the no. 3 performance of all-time, behind only McKeown’s world record of 57.45 from the 2021 Australian Olympic Trials and her 57.47 at the Tokyo Games. Wow! McKeown now owns four of the fastest five times ever.
Teammate Mollie O’Callaghan, 19, a star Freestyler but also the Worlds short-course 100 m Back silver winner last year, finished second in 58.42, and moved to no. 3 on the world list for this year.
The meet continues through Sunday.
At the French Elite Championships in Rennes, Leon Marchard won his fourth event – the 200 m Medley – by almost four seconds in 1:56.25, a little short of his seasonal best of 1:55.68 from April.
For our updated, 651-event International Sports Calendar (no. 2) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!