Mexico Olympics ban fears eased after reassurances

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 08, 2015 11:49 AM

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Mexico is unlikely to face an Olympics ban despite a threat of political interference in the country's sports organizations in a row over public funding and transparency, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.

There were fears that the country might be barred from participating in the Games under its national flag after the head of the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports (CONADE), Alfredo Castillo, warned that politicians could intervene in the running of some national federations amid allegations of missing public finds and a lack of transparency.

The IOC is eager to safeguard the autonomy of sport from government interference, but it said it had been reassured by the Mexican government.

Pere Miro, IOC Deputy Director General for Relations with the Olympic Movement, said at the moment there was only a threat and no actual interference in Mexico's national sports bodies.

He said the Mexican government had eased concerns in a submission to the IOC following a letter from the Olympic body.

"For us this case is not a case," Miro told reporters. "Politicians can talk, but at the moment if you want to speak about facts there are none."

He said there was no evidence of any interference by the government.

"We have received the reply from the ministry. We are satisfied with the letter," Miro added.

He said the IOC was in favor of Mexico looking into sport's state funding and whether it was used properly. But he said the government could not make any changes within the sports federations, such as changing presidents of federations, as had been suggested.

The IOC has banned countries in the past from the Olympics and access to Olympic funds if it considered a government was interfering.

Kuwait was suspended for the second time in five years in October over government interference in the country's Olympic committee.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann,; Editing by Neville Dalton)