By Karolos Grohmann
BUENOSAIRES (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee admitted nine new members on Tuesday but snubbed both soccer’s FIFA and athletics’ IAAF again as both have struggled with widespread corruption and doping scandals.
Greece, host of the first modern games, was also left out in the cold for the third year running, in the wake of bitter disputes there over control of the national Olympic committee.
Morinari Watanabe and Andrew Parsons, the heads of the international gymnastics federation FIG and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) respectively, were among those to join the committee.
They were joined by Italian Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago, whose country is bidding for the 2026 winter Games.
The other IOC inductees were senior national Olympic committee members Samira Ashgari from Afghanistan, Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck from Bhutan, Daina Gudzineviciute from Lithuania, Camilo Perez Lopez Moreira from Paraguay, Felicite Rwemarika from Rwanda and William Blick from Uganda.
While membership of the IOC for the heads of soccer and athletics, two of the world’s largest federations, was seen as almost automatic for years, the committee did not propose FIFA President Gianni Infantino or IAAF President Sebastian Coe this time.
Despite presiding over two of the most popular sports in the world, FIFA and the IAAF have been embroiled in a range of scandals in recent years.
The IOC also snubbed Greece – host of the first modern Games – for the third year running, leaving it without a representative since 2015.
Greece, which provided the first President of the IOC in 1894 and stages the Games’ torch-lighting ceremony on the ancient site of Olympia, had at least one IOC member continuously from 1894 to 2015.
But infighting in recent years over who runs the national Olympic committee as well as a complete lack of international lobbying by the country are seen as the main reasons for it not being on the IOC since 2015.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Hugh Lawson)