By: Loren Haas
The International Olympic Committee faces an investigation from prosecutors in France for its bidding and voting processes for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. The inquiry began as a probe into corruption into organizations such as Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
This investigation has already resulted in the arrest of former IAAF President Lamine Diack, and allegations against Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack. Lamine is accused of protecting Russian athletes who failed drug tests; Papa Massata is accused of receiving 1.5 million U.S. dollars in a bank account in regards to the decision to host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and blackmailing a Russian long-distance runner into paying to keep her positive drug test results a secret.
The investigation has also resulted in the suspension of Russia from the IAAF as a report from the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency alleged that Russia encouraged the use of performance-enhancing drugs for its athletes.
Mario Andrada, the Rio 2016 Communications Director, stated that Rio won the Games “because it presented the best project.” Similarly, the organizers of the 2020 Games have stated that Tokyo won the Olympic bid “because the city presented the best bid.”
Japan has a history of breaking the rules. The country hosted the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano after supplying some of the IOC members with a luxury vacation, including hot spring resorts and first class flights to the country. Such breaches can no longer occur, though, as many new regulations have been put in place after the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. In those games, IOC members received up to one million dollars in bribes and would visit the locations of the games before the decision was even made. New regulations banned visiting the bidding cities prior to the final vote after the corruption in the 2002 Games were revealed; in the aftermath of those games, ten members of the IOC left, be it by resignation or expulsion.
Interpol has issued a warrant for Papa Massata Diack’s arrest; however, the investigation is far from over.