Olympics-Federations' finances hit by Tokyo delay, but no bankruptcy fears

FILE PHOTO: A bird flies in front of the giant Olympic rings, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan, January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

BERLIN (Reuters) - The 28 Olympic sports federations have taken a big financial hit due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics by a year, but even if the Games were cancelled they would not be at risk of bankruptcy, the executive director of the international federations' association said.

The 2020 Games have been rescheduled for July after being put off due to the coronavirus outbreak, though there remains a risk they could be cancelled if the pandemic worsens.

"We are all committed to delivering the Olympic Games this year," Andrew Ryan, Executive Director of the Association of summer Olympic international federations (ASOIF), told Reuters.

"But if the very worst comes to the worst of course federations would suffer. Some budgets would have to go. But by and large federations would not declare themselves bankrupt."

All Olympic federations receive a chunk of cash after each Games, based on the size and popularity of their sport.

The funding model used to determine their share of the revenues delivered by the International Olympic Committee divides the sports into five groups.

Top sports such as athletics, gymnastics and swimming receive about $40 million in group A, while smaller sports such as modern pentathlon and new Olympic sports - rugby and golf - end up with about $14 million in group E.

That cash injection has now been delayed by a year.


Ryan said federations had been offered interest free loans by the IOC.

"Actually only about half of the 28 federations took a loan, which is an indication of where we are," he said.

He said loans taken out by the federations did not amount to more than about $40 million in total combined.

"It is always thought that the international federations are all very dependent on the Olympic revenues," Ryan said.

"It is still a big part. But if you took an average across all federations (apart from the bigger-sized football federation FIFA) about 30 percent comes from the Olympic Games."

Ryan said smaller federations, with smaller operations and staff, were less exposed to the effects of the pandemic.

"The ones with the exposure are the bigger federations that burn a lot of money from their reserves. That is where the risk lies," Ryan said.

"Some have very substantial reserves but they have been fighting very hard to deliver events, like handball and their (ongoing) world championship in Egypt."

The IOC and Japanese organisers have said the Games will go ahead, even with empty stadiums and isolation of athletes.

"If a total catastrophe happened there would be painful cuts to budgets and difficult choices to make," Ryan said. "But I don't think there are federations thinking 'it is all over for us' if it was not to happen."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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