USOC blasted over revenue-sharing negotiations

DENVER, (Reuters) – High-ranking Olympic officials  have blasted the U.S. Olympic Committee for dragging their feet  on negotiating a new revenue-sharing agreement.
Fed up with the pace of negotiations that have dragged on  for years, angry members of the Association of Summer Olympic  International Federations (ASOIF) took action on Tuesday.

They passed a resolution that will be submitted to the  International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board asking  that the long-standing agreement between the USOC and IOC be  immediately terminated.

“I feel we have been taken by the nose for three years by  USOC,” said Hein Verbruggen, the former chief of the  International Cycling Union. “That’s my conclusion.
“I am angry.”
The contentious debate over how Olympic revenues are split  has dominated talk among the 1,200 international sports  officials gathering in Denver this week for the SportAccord  convention and IOC executive board meetings.

Senior IOC officials argue that USOC receives more than its  fair share from global marketing contracts and U.S. broadcasting  revenues and are seeking a fairer distribution of the Olympic  pie.

The USOC maintains it is entitled to a larger share since it  is American television rights and sponsors that keeps Olympic  coffers flush with cash, providing the IOC with more than 50  percent of its revenues.

“The IOC and sport can not be slaves to the contract that  has been signed at a time that has nothing to do with present  days,” said Marius Vizer, president of the international judo  federation. Tensions escalated during a heated ASOIF general assembly,  as Denis Oswald, who was re-elected president of ASOIF, and  Verbruggen led the call for action on the revenue-sharing  dispute.

The ugly mood appeared to catch USOC off guard, surprised  officials immediately calling reporters to an impromptu meeting  to outline their view of negotiations and ask for calm.

“We’re looking for a long-term solution and it’s probably  not best to do it in an emotional or pressure environment,” said  Bob Ctvrtlik, USOC vice-chairman for international relations and  part of the four-member negotiating team. “It’s not easy, it is  complicated and I think we all need to do that in a nice calm  manner.
“No one can say there have not been substantial offers made  in writing. The prior leadership as well as the current  leadership has made … effort to resolve this issue and any  other issues that arise.

“We’re trying to completely and thoroughly listen and  understand arguments that have been made from the international  federations. They have some very good points, but in a calm  reasoned dialogue not negotiating through the press we would  like to come to a solution that benefits all members of the  Olympic movement.”

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