By Karolos Grohmann
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been proposed for International Olympic Committee membership, but World Athletics head Sebastian Coe will have to wait due to a conflict of interest, IOC President Thomas Bach said on Thursday.
FIFA and World Athletics, the governing bodies of two of the biggest sports in the Olympics, have been without membership ever since the departure from the IOC of their respective former presidents Sepp Blatter and Lamine Diack in 2015.
For years, membership of the IOC for the heads of soccer and athletics was seen as almost automatic.
Yet the two international federations have been left out in the cold as they struggled with widespread corruption and doping scandals which tarnished their images. Diack, who has denied wrongdoing, faces a corruption trial in France in January.
Bach said Infantino had been proposed for election at their next session in January along with International Tennis Federation chief David Haggerty and Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita.
World Athletics chief Coe, however, had not been proposed due to a conflict of interest.
“We wanted him (Coe) to become an IOC member as president of one of our most important Olympic sports,” Bach said. “Since then we are in close consultation with him and since then we have addressed the risk of a potential of conflict of interest he may have.”
Apart for his role at World Athletics, Coe is also Group Chairman of consultancy firm CSM which also works with the IOC.
“CSM is consulting various organisations and stakeholders including having contractual partnerships with the IOC itself.”
Bach said Coe had informed them that he could not immediately resolve this situation but was working on it. Bach said Coe could become a member at their session during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“He is hopeful to address it in a couple of months. Then that would mean the door is still open for Tokyo.”
The IOC elects new members at its sessions once candidates are vetted by the Olympic body.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)