Lausanne (AFP)

Certain international sports federations, largely subsidized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), find themselves in financial difficulty due to the postponement of the Tokyo Games but also to their own competitions and could appeal to public aid.

"The situation is tense and very gloomy. An assessment will be made but clearly certain positions are threatened": the observation made by a manager of a large international federation is far from isolated.

Of the 33 international federations present at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, 28 must receive substantial aid from the IOC, but the postponement of the Games should result in the postponement of their payment. The five new sports (karate, surfing, skateboarding, climbing and baseball / softball) are not eligible.

The Olympic windfall, which had reached a total of USD 520 million for the Rio 2016 Olympics, "should reach roughly the same level for the Tokyo Olympics and could even drop," warns Andrew Ryan, director general of the Association of International Federations. Olympic Summer Sports (Asoif), responsible for the distribution of this money.

- Grants from 7 to 40 M USD -

Classified into five groups according to their audience and their size, the federations receive declining grants: around 40 M USD (36 M EUR) for the largest (athletics, swimming and gymnastics); 25 M USD for group 2 (cycling, basketball, volleyball, football and tennis); 17 M USD for group 3 (including boxing, rowing, judo, table tennis), 12 M USD for group 4 (sailing, canoeing, fencing ...) and 7 M USD for the last group (rugby, golf, modern pentathlon).

For the largest, such as Fifa, which has a woolen stocking of 1.5 billion USD (1.4 billion EUR) or Fiba (44.4 M CHF in reserves, or 42 M EUR), the aid of the IOC represent a reduced proportion of their income, even tiny for Fifa. For others, not just the smallest, it is a vital contribution.

But for all the federations, the postponement of the Olympic Games has a domino effect which involves the reprogramming of their own competitions, from which they derive most of their income. This is the case of World Athletics which has already announced the postponement to 2022 of the Worlds in Eugene (United States). The International Swimming Federation (Fina) will have to do the same for its Worlds scheduled in the summer of 2021 in Japan, in Fukuoka.

"An edition of the Worlds means for us 10 M USD of revenues (9.1 M EUR). If these revenues are fully or partially postponed for a year, we are going to face big problems, all the more if the money of the IOC, originally expected next September, is not paid, "says an executive of a federation, on condition of anonymity.

At the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), which manages its activities from Singapore, "the Executive Committee has decided to reduce its expenses and the highest executives have offered to lower their salaries," says Matt Pound, director of marketing. .

The ITTF, which stresses that "the majority of its income comes from its commercial activities and not from the aid of the IOC", has rightly suspended all its competitions until June. "This results in a significant shortfall which puts our federation under financial pressure," he adds.

"The IOC will end up paying its aid but what weighs the most is the uncertainty, on the holding of our competitions and the maintenance or not of our sponsors", adds Kim Andersen, the Danish president of the international sailing federation ( World Sailing).

- Anticipate payments -

First solution for federations: "let the IOC anticipate its payments," added Mr. Ryan.

Questioned by AFP, the IOC does not advance: "It is not possible at this stage to assess the overall impact" of the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. "It depends on a number of variables that are currently under study."

But according to a member of a federation, "the IOC will discuss case by case, sport by sport".

Another option is for the federations to request public aid, put in place to deal with the coronavirus crisis, in Switzerland, the seat of many of them, but also in Great Britain, where World Sailing is based.

"Can sports federations benefit from aid from the Confederation? The answer is yes, in principle", confirms to AFP, Philippe Leuba, State Councilor of the Canton of Vaud, in charge of Economy and Sport .

Federations based in Switzerland can thus theoretically request from their bank a line of credit up to CHF 20 million (EUR 18.9 million), at a rate between 0 and 1%, and guaranteed by the Swiss State.

© 2020 AFP