Thomas Bach has criticized those who went against “spirit of the Olympic movement”. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President also insisted that no organization can be immune from wrongdoing irrespective of the level of governance.

Bach, speaking in a keynote address that lasted almost an hour at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly, spoke on a number of issues, including ongoing corruption and anti-doping investigations. Bach admitted that the International Olympic Committee does face challenges but accused the IOC critics of ignorance.

The IOC President told the 1,300 delegates that we live in a world of mistrust against the establishment and we are considered to be part of this establishment. Bach also remarked that we live in a world where people are more and more thinking in silos of their own opinion and also said that people are not ready for a dialogue anymore. The IOC chief said they in a world of silos become aggressive of people who do not share their opinions and went on to say that people start to think that because they are living in silos, that they are in possession of the sole and only truth.

Bach commented that we at present are living in a world where selfish interests appear to prevail and create more discrepancies in our world. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President also said we are now living in a world where they Olympic values of tolerance, respect, understanding and peace are more important than ever before. Bach said the IOC has the determination and the courage and the will to promote and defend these values.

The speech of Bach followed the arrest of Carlos Nuzman, a former IOC member and Rio 2016 President, for alleged involvement in a vote-buying scandal. Frankie Fredericks, the IOC member from Namibia, was absent from the IOC Session in Lima as he seeks to clear this name after being linked with the scandal. Fredericks appeared in Paris before a court to provide answers to questions about alleged payments linked to Rio 2016 that were received by his company.

In a corruption case, ANOC President and IOC member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah was identified by a United States Department of Justice document. The case is associated with Guam’s Richard Lai but the name of Al-Sabah was cleared of any wrongdoing by the ANOC General Assembly.

The IOC President said all of these cases are exceptions rather than the rule. Bach added the cases do not reflect badly on governance processes of the International Olympic Committee. Bach appeared most passionate when he criticized those who have “prematurely” called for a blanket ban on Russia from the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics. The President of IOC said the Olympic Movement considers it unacceptable that some sanctions are being demanded in the public domain.

The Schmid and Oswald Commissions of IOC are likely to complete their findings before decisions are made at an Executive Board meeting scheduled for December 5 to 7. Bach said we cannot expect others to defend us and accept us if we ourselves do not respect our Commissions and the way we are working.

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