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Olympic Sports Federations Seek Discussions with IOC Regarding Potential Impact of Cricket and Other Sports on 2028 Program

A number of Olympic sports groups are calling for urgent discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) concerning potential cuts to their revenue shares and medal events at the 2028 Los Angeles Games. This comes after the recent addition of cricket and other new sports to the program.

Last month, the IOC approved the inclusion of cricket, baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse, and squash for the 2028 Games, and confirmed the status of boxing, modern pentathlon, and weightlifting – three sports that had been under consideration for removal.

The umbrella organization representing current Summer Games sports, known as ASOIF, expressed concerns about the decision to expand the number of sports to a record 36. Its member federations collectively received $540 million in IOC-allocated funding at each of the past two Olympics. The addition of these new sports has raised several questions among ASOIF members.

Many Olympic sports received between $13 million and $17.3 million from the Tokyo Games in 2021, which constituted approximately half of their total income over a four-year period.

The inclusion of four team sports in 2028 is projected to surpass the IOC’s preferred limit of 10,500 athletes at a Summer Games, potentially leading to pressure on traditional Olympic sports to reduce athlete quotas or even medal events. The IOC aims to finalize quotas by early 2025.

The ASOIF ruling council has agreed to address these urgent matters with the IOC leadership following a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. The council includes representatives from leading Olympic sports such as World Athletics, the International Gymnastics Federation, and World Aquatics.

Track and field received $38.5 million after the Tokyo Games, while gymnastics and swimming each received approximately $31.4 million from the IOC’s total revenue of $7.6 billion from 2017-2021. The addition of cricket is anticipated to boost the IOC’s broadcast deal in India by at least $100 million.

Key issues for Olympic sports as the games continue to expand include revenue sharing, athlete quotas, Olympic qualification systems, and games optimization. Optimization, in this context, refers to efforts to reduce costs and services to help organizers manage spending.

ASOIF president Francesco Ricci Bitti emphasized the significant impact of these issues on international federation operations and the broader Olympic Movement, stating, “These are the issues that hugely impact (international federation) operations and have far-reaching effects on the entire Olympic Movement.”

The IOC has yet to respond to the ASOIF request for comment. Additionally, the Olympic body is expected to confirm revenue-sharing funds from the 2024 Paris Olympics after the event.

Meanwhile, with Russia planning to host a World Friendship Games shortly after the conclusion of the Paris Olympics, ASOIF cautioned its members about potential involvement in a rival event to the Olympics, set to take place in Moscow and Yekaterinburg in September. The organization stated that the Russian multi-sport event “is not conducive to dialogue within the sports world during these challenging times.”

The Russian Olympic Committee remains suspended by the IOC, although individual athletes may still be invited by certain sports to compete as neutral athletes in international events, provided they do not publicly support the war in Ukraine and have no ties to the military or state security agencies.

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