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OLYMPICS

Sports agree to revenue formula for London Games

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Despite calls for change by swimming's governing body, international sports bodies agreed Tuesday to maintain the revenue-sharing formula that will provide track and field with the biggest share of television money from the 2012 London Olympics.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, which represents the 26 sports on the London program, rejected a call Tuesday by swimming body FINA to change the criteria for distributing the projected $375 million in TV revenues.

Under the formula, the International Association of Athletics Federations will remain as the undisputed No. 1 sport in the money ranking and receive $35.77 million. That's up from the $29 million the IAAF received from the 2008 Beijing Games and nearly twice as much as FINA and the other second-tier federations will get.

Swimming, basketball, cycling, football, gymnastics, tennis and volleyball will each receive $18.73 million, compared to $14.27 million from Beijing.

FINA believes it should get a bigger share because of the strong TV ratings and packed crowds in Beijing, where Michael Phelps won a record eight gold medals.

Swimming federation president Julio Maglione of Uruguay said the current ranking "does not reflect the reality of today" and that his sport deserves to be in the top group. He proposed that an independent commission be appointed to revise the formula before the London Games.

While Maglione received support from table tennis and handball, the ASOIF assembly voted to approve the current ranking and money split for London and to ask the IOC to review the formula after 2012.

The third-tier sports — rowing, equestrian, handball and field hockey — will each get $13.17 million, compared to $9.61 million from Beijing. The fourth and lowest group — boxing, badminton, canoeing, fencing, judo, wrestling, modern pentathlon, table tennis, shooting, archery, weightlifting, sailing, taekwondo and triathlon — will each receive $11.19 million.

The revenue-sharing formula was first implemented ahead of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics based on a ranking of the sports by the International Olympic Committee, with TV ratings, attendance and ticket sales among the leading criteria. The IAAF was classified as the No. 1-ranked sport and has remained so, but some federations are upset that the IAAF receives most of the pie.

"The problem is if you give more (money) to one, you have to take it from other federations," AFOIF president Denis Oswald, who also heads the rowing federation, told The Associated Press. "A lot of federations feel that that the gap between athletics and other sports is too big. It might be fair that their share is reduced a bit but of course it's asking them to make that concession. It's difficult for them to do it."

IAAF president Lamine Diack urged the federations to accept the formula out of "solidarity."

The federations will put the issue to the IOC executive board on Wednesday.

During its two-day meeting, the IOC board is expected to strip China of an Olympic bronze medal in gymnastics from the 2000 Sydney Games because one of its athletes was only 14 at the time.

In February, the International Gymnastics Federation nullified all of Dong Fangxiao's results from Sydney and recommended that the IOC take the medal from the Chinese. The United States finished fourth and would move up to the bronze.

Age falsification has been a problem in gymnastics since the 1980s, after the minimum age was raised from 14 to 15 in an effort to protect young athletes, whose bodies are still developing, from serious injuries. The minimum age was raised to its current 16 in 1997.

The IOC also will hear a progress report from organizers of the London Olympics, including a sneak peek at plans for their mascot. Organizers hope to introduce the mascot next month in London.