Olympic Broadcasting Waits for New Chair

(ATR) A possible successor to Richard Pound demurs on becoming chair of Olympic Broadcast Services.

(ATR) Richard Pound is out. Who will take his place as the chairman of the two boards of directors that run Olympic Broadcast Services is up to IOC President Thomas Bach.

Pound, doyen of the IOC and one of its most experienced members in the complexities of Olympic broadcasting, confirms to ATR that he is no longer chair of the OBS boards.

The move follows Pound’s removal as a member of the IOC Legal Affairs Commission, also revealed last week with the release of IOC Commission appointments for the next year.

Throughout his 40 year tenure as an IOC member, Pound has been associated with legal and broadcasting matters. For six years he led the World Anti Doping Agency as its first president. In the past two years he has risen in seniority to the top spot among the 96 active members of the IOC. Pound is due to retire from the IOC in 2022 when he turns 80.

A source familiar with the changes describes the move "as a changing of the guard". Indeed, just in the past five years more than three dozen new IOC members have come aboard.

Not mentioned are Pound’s stinging comments about the IOC in the past few years that have drawn the wrath of fellow members. Among the members unhappy with Pound is the IOC president, who makes appointments to IOC commissions.

Pound has been outspoken against the IOC’s actions in the Russian doping scandal. He led the original WADA commission assembled to investigate charges that a state-run doping program was behind the scandal. Pound’s criticism came to a head at the IOC Session in PyeongChang in February. He attacked what he regarded as a weak response by the IOC to the Russian scandal. Pound was subsequently challenged, in particular by IOC member in Argentina and fellow OBS board member Gerardo Werthein.

"For some reason if Mr. Pound doesn't agree, then it's wrong," Werthein said during the session. "We have to understand that this is not Mr. Pound's organization. But this is the IOC."

In rebuttal, Pound said he will not be silenced.

"The fact I have a different opinion from others... does not mean I am not entitled to the opinion. I think it's very unfortunate in a collegial gathering like this to suggest that I am not entitled to give that opinion.

"We are not as IOC members to be censored and it’s very inappropriate by our colleague to say that," said Pound.

Among the current members of the OBS board, Werthein is considered to have an inside track to take over as OBS chair. The only other IOC member of the panel is Juan Antonio Samaranch. He heads the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Werthein tells Around the Rings he cannot comment on the possibility of leading OBS.

"It’s not for me to make a statement on that matter. It’s up to the Olympic Foundation to make that decision," he tells ATR.

No word yet on when the OBS board might meet to confirm a new chairman.

Pound says he is not sanguine about what’s ahead for the IOC.

"Alas, I have a huge concern for the future," says Pound.

He may have more to say in October at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires. As doyen, he is entitled to deliver closing remarks at the end of the meeting.

Reported by Ed Hula.