Olympics-ASOIF express concerns over athletics Olympic prize money

FIEL PHOTO: The Olympics rings and the logos of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics Games are pictured on the Pulse building, the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics organizing committee, in Saint-Denis near Paris, France, March 21, 2024. REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq/File Photo

(Reuters) - The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) have expressed their concern over the decision by World Athletics to introduce prize money for Olympic gold medallists, and said on Friday that they were not consulted.

On April 10, athletics became the first sport to offer prize money for Olympic champions, beginning in Paris this year, but the announcement by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has been met with criticism.

"ASOIF was neither informed nor consulted in advance of the announcement, which was made one day after the ASOIF General Assembly and during SportAccord," a statement said.

"ASOIF respects and defends the autonomy of each and every member federation.

"However, when a decision of one IF has a direct impact on the collective interests of the Summer Olympic IFs, it is important and fair to discuss the matter at stake with the other federations in advance."

The ASOIF said that their members have expressed concerns over the announcement by World Athletics.

"First, for many, this move undermines the values of Olympism and the uniqueness of the Games," their statement continued.

"One cannot and should not put a price on an Olympic gold medal and, in many cases, Olympic medallists indirectly benefit from commercial endorsements.

"Second, not all sports could or should replicate this move, even if they wanted to. Paying prize money in a multi-sport environment goes against the principle of solidarity, reinforces a different set of values across the sports and opens up many questions."

They went on to say that prize money should be comparable to that awarded in top competitions in each sport, if the Olympics are considered the pinnacle of each sport, but that this is technically and financially unfeasible.

The ASOIF added that the initiative opens rather than solves a number of complex issues and will raise these concerns with World Athletics.

However, the announcement has been met with a positive reaction from the world's leading athletes, with the $2.4 million prize pot to be split among the 48 gold medallists in Paris.

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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