IOC, U.S. Olympic Committee closer to financial deal

BERLIN (Reuters) - A long-standing financial row between the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee over revenue sharing looks on course to be settled after both sides agreed to speed up talks for a deal.

The two sides have been at odds for years over what the IOC has said were far too large amounts of money from broadcasting and sponsoring deals flowing to the USOC based on old contracts.

"The IOC and the USOC have reached agreement on a significant financial contribution from the USOC to resolve the Games' costs issue," the IOC said in a statement.

"During a very productive and amicable meeting at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last month, the two sides also agreed to establish a process to accelerate talks on the outstanding issue of revenue sharing."

"The agreement followed fruitful discussions in Denver, Colorado, last year and at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games this February. The IOC and USOC delegations have pledged to continue working in a constructive manner and in a spirit of good faith and cooperation," it said.

The IOC had wanted to balance the scale of funds as international federations and national Olympic committees, especially hard hit by the credit crunch, were complaining about the large share given to USOC.

Some IOC members had called the amounts "immoral" while USOC had refused to budge.

Based on deals signed years ago, the USOC was getting more from the North American broadcasting rights deal and the IOC top sponsors program than all other 200-plus Olympic committees put together.

The revenue sharing row was seen as a major factor in Chicago's first-round elimination in the vote for the 2016 Games despite the presence of U.S. President Barack Obama in Copenhagen for the election in October last year.

"This agreement demonstrates that when people work together constructively to develop innovative solutions to challenging problems, the future of the Olympic Movement will benefit," he said.

(Writing by Karolos Grohmann, Editing by Alison Wildey)