Neven Ilic, president of Panam Sports, admitted his interest in presiding over the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).
“There are many very capable people, but obviously there is the availability. If in any way I can serve in that mission, I am available,” said the Chilean leader in an interview with the Spanish news agency Efe.
“I am very much in tune with what I am doing in Panam Sports, I like it very much and I still have many challenges. And ANOC requires complete dedication, so we will see who can do the best job and that person should be the one to lead ANOC,” added Ilic in the interview with Natalia Arriaga, the news agency’s senior sports politics specialist.
ANOC is holding its annual general assembly next week, October 24-25. The heads of the 205 Olympic committees from around the world will meet on the Greek island of Crete, at the culmination of a high-profile month for Greece in terms of Olympic-related events.
Efe highlights in its article the “interim stage” ANOC has been experiencing since 2018. “That was when Fijian Robin Mitchell replaced Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, who stepped aside from the presidency after being accused of falsifying evidence by a Swiss court.”
“Al-Sabah was sentenced last September 10 to 14 months in prison, plus 15 months suspended, for producing, along with four others, fake videos intended to prove the corrupt nature of Kuwaiti government officials. The sentence is not final and Al-Sabah announced his intention to file an appeal”.
Arriaga highlights in his article that “sources in the Olympic movement have been citing for months Ilic, also an IOC member, as one of the likely candidates for the position in 2022, both for the support he has in the Americas and for initiatives such as the creation of the First Junior Pan American Games, which will be inaugurated in Cali on November 25, or the management of vaccination for American athletes who participated in the Tokyo Games.”
President of Panam Sports since 2017, the Chilean renewed the organization formerly known as the Pan American Sports Organization (Paso), which for long years was presided over by Mexican Mario Vázquez Raña, who was also ANOC’s President for decades.
Ilic is hopeful that ANOC will find a new direction after the meeting in Crete.
“ANOC had an interim president during these four years and there are elections next year. In this meeting in Crete I guess we are going to concretize what we want from ANOC in the next four years. After setting an election date, the most important thing is to define the role of the Association, its role in the Olympic Movement and focus on that. We have to strengthen that role and see how we take it to the IOC,” he added.
Ilic expressed his alarm at FIFA’s proposal to hold the football World Cup every two years, instead of every four, as has been the case since 1930.
“It sounds a bit strange. From the spectator’s point of view it can be entertaining, but from another point of view it can be overwhelming to have two events of that magnitude in the same year. We’ll see how it evolves,” he said.