No IOC Seats for Coe, Infantino in 2018

(ATR) The leaders of the two biggest international federations apparently will not join the IOC in February.

(ATR) The leaders of the two biggest international federations apparently will not join the IOC in February.

First reported today by Reuters, an IOC source now tells Around the Rings that neither FIFA President Gianni Infantino nor IAAF President Sebastian Coe are likely to be nominated for seats on the IOC in February.

"Seb has made it clear that he wants and needs to focus on IAAF," a spokesperson for Coe tells ATR.

"With the various roles he has with the IOC, he has good dialogue and sport input into the IOC," says the source.

ATR reported earlier this month on the possibility of Coe and Infantino joining the IOC this year.

Coe holds a seat on the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He is the only member of the commission to serve as the leader of an Olympic organizing committee, London 2012. Coe is also one of the leaders of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, the group representing the 28 sports on the summer program. And once a year Coe also joins the Olympic Summit group formed by IOC President Thomas Bach to review major issues affecting the Games.

Coe, elected IAAF President in 2015, has often said that taking care of the federation is a priority over a possible IOC membership. Past IAAF presidents have held IOC seats, such as Lamine Diack, Coe’s predecessor.

A big part of Coe’s task for the past two years has been restoring the reputation of the federation leadership sullied by Diack. He is under investigation by French authorities for soliciting bribes to keep secret positive drug tests by Russian track and field athletes. The investigation into Diack has led to other accusations that while an IOC member until 2013, he brokered bribes to members to cast votes for Rio de Janeiro as the 2016 host of the Olympics and Tokyo for the 2020 Games.

An IOC source says at this point Infantino is not expected to be on the list of nominations for the IOC at the Session in February on the eve of the Winter Olympics.

As has been customary for the IAAF president to have an IOC seat, so too for the FIFA president. Infantino was elected in early 2016 to lead the scandal plagued football federation. His predecessor, Sepp Blatter, left the IOC in 2015 in the midst of the massive governance scandal. He chose not to seek reelection to a new eight-year term on the IOC saying he would have to leave months later when he turned 80.

The IOC Session in PyeongChang is the only opportunity available to elect new members in 2018. The next Session is scheduled for the third quarter of 2019 in Milan.

With 99 current members, the IOC will lose seven members to retirement in 2018. IOC membership is capped at 115.

At least one nomination is certain at this point. Jiri Kjeval, president of the Czech Olympic Committee, is due for a vote after his nomination was postponed from the IOC session held in Lima last September.

No word from the IOC on whether other nominations will be put forward. The IOC Executive Board was expected to meet by teleconference at some time this month to review proposals from the IOC Members Election Commission. The senior member of the IOC in Great Britain, the Princess Royal, chairs that group.

Reported by Ed Hula.