Rogge cites progress in revenue talks with USOC

IOC President Jacques Rogge said progress is being made in negotiations with the U.S. Olympic Committee on a new revenue-sharing agreement, an issue at the heart of a long-running financial rift between the two sides.

Rogge, however, rejected calls by international sports federations to enact a deal before 2020, the date set by both organizations for implementation of the new formula.

"The USOC situation is one (where) we are making progress," Rogge said Tuesday at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee executive board with the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.

The USOC receives 20 percent of global sponsorship revenues and nearly 13 percent of U.S. broadcast rights deals — figures many international officials consider excessive.

International resentment over the USOC's share was considered a key factor in Chicago's humiliating first-round loss in the IOC vote in 2009 for the 2016 Olympics, which were awarded to Rio de Janeiro. That followed New York's defeat in the race for the 2012 Games.

The two sides agreed last year to negotiate a new formula that will take effect in 2020. The negotiations were originally scheduled to begin in 2013, but officials agreed last year to start as soon as possible. The first round of talks was held in January in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The ASOIF assembly, which represents the 26 sports in the Summer Olympics, asked Rogge if the new deal could start earlier than 2020.

"It seems a long time to wait," ASOIF President Denis Oswald said.

"The answer is no," Rogge said. "We have an agreement with USOC that was signed in Denver and was approved by the executive board. We are going to hopefully have a good success in changing the distribution of revenues after 2020, but not before 2020."

A first breakthrough on financial issues came in September when the USOC agreed to contribute about $18 million toward the administrative costs of staging the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games. ASOIF asked Rogge whether agreement had been reached on the USOC's contribution to the cost of future games.

"There is another issue about the games costs," Rogge said. "We are continuing to discuss with the USOC. We don't enter into detail. I think we are making a good progress and the executive board will examine this in due time and keep you informed."

The IOC is expected to resume talks on the financial issues this week with USOC chairman Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun, who are attending the SportAccord conference in London.

Probst and Blackmun have made a concerted effort in the past year to improve relations with the IOC and reconnect the USOC with the international movement.

The IOC delegation consists of marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg, finance commission head Richard Carrion and chief of staff Christophe De Kepper.

Rogge, meanwhile, steered clear of intervening in the bitter financial dispute between the British Olympic Association and organizers of the 2012 London Games. The BOA has taken London organizers to the Court of Arbitration for Sport seeking a bigger share of any potential surplus from the games.

"I'm not going to be dragged into an emotional observation on this issue," Rogge said at a news conference. "It's purely a legal issue. It has to be solved by legal people and we'll accept the judgment."

Under a joint marketing agreement signed in 2005, the BOA is entitled to a 20 percent cut of any surplus. The BOA claims the potentially money-losing Paralympics should not be taken into account, but the IOC and London organizing committee insist that the cost of both events should be counted.

The IOC issued a ruling siding with organizers last month, but the BOA ignored it and decided to pursue its legal claim in the court.

"The preparation of the games is not affected by this dispute," Oswald said. "The two organizations are still working well together."

On another issue, Rogge announced that his chief of staff, Christophe De Kepper, had been appointed as the IOC's new director general. De Kepper replaces Urs Lacotte, who stepped down last week because of health reasons. The director general runs the IOC's administrative offices in Lausanne, Switzerland.