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Kim Yoon-yong May Lose IOC Post

Posted January. 24, 2004 23:36,   


Kim Yoon-yong (73), a vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a man who has played a pivotal role in the organization, is likely to lose his standing in the international community as well as his public office in Korea after his qualifications were suspended by the IOC on January 24.

The membership of the IOC was his last stronghold as shown by the fact that while Mr. Kim announced his resignation from his lawmaker’s office, his presidency of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and his directorship of World Taekwondo Headquarters, he had not mentioned his membership in the IOC. But when the Executive Board of the IOC decided to suspend his qualifications, his IOC position is now at stake.

The IOC’s action is based on the Olympic Charter and its regulations that state that “By decision of the Executive Board, members, the Honorary President for life or honorary members may, in the process of a disciplinary inquiry, be deprived of all or part of the rights, prerogatives and functions deriving from their membership.”

Even so, this action by the IOC is unprecedented compared with previous cases. In the 1990s, when Ivan Slavkov of Bulgaria, Robert Helmic of the U.S.A. and Mohamad Hasan of Indonesia were accused of illegal acts and impropriety, the IOC did not take open disciplinary measures against them.

It is believed that the reason why the IOC has taken rapid and strict precedent-breaking action in this case is because Kim is a leading figure with many enemies inside the IOC and that he has already received two warnings. He was severely warned for his involvement in the Salt Lake City bribery scandal exposed by another IOC member Marc Hodler, and he also received an oral warning for his excess pledges just before the presidential election of the IOC in 2001.

In addition, there is an analysis saying that Kim was targeted because of his tense relationship with current IOC President Jacque Rogge, who had competed with him in the last presidential election, and his tense relationship with Dick Pound of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) inside the IOC. In particular, his relationship with Rogge has been icy after Kim won the vice president’s office over Gerhard Heiberg whom Rogge had supported. This may have been the reason why Rogge directed an investigation and issued an unprecedented suspension of Kim’s qualifications even while prosecution is under way.

It is known that the IOC Ethics Commission is investigating charges including breach of duty in nominating members of the Korean Olympic Committee and embezzlement of WTF funds. Accordingly, it is also possible that Kim will be dismissed permanently from the IOC at a general meeting held in Athens on August 12. For a permanent dismissal of an IOC member, more than two thirds of all in attendance must agree at a general meeting.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com