World Athletics has borrowed $7.5 million (£5.5 million/€6.4 million) from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the biggest such loan to have come to light since the IOC published a list of 15 International Federations (IFs) to which it was lending money.
This emerged as the governing body of one of the most important Olympic sports published accounts showing it had managed to make a small profit of $2.1 million (£1.5 million/€1.8 million) in the COVID-blighted year of 2020, due chiefly to reduced costs.
However, the figures also benefited significantly from receipt of $6.8 million (£5 million/€5.8 million) from the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).
This equated to some 15 per cent of the Monaco-based body’s annual revenue.
World Athletics explained: “In March 2020, RusAF admitted breaching the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules by its senior management being complicit in and covering up a whereabouts rule violation by high jumper Danil Lysenko.
“As a result, Council imposed a package of sanctions on RusAF, including a $10 million (£7.3 million/€8.5 million) fine, of which $5 million (£3.65 million/€4.25 million) was payable by 1 July 2020, as well as $1.31 million (£959,000/€1.1 million) in costs.”
Prior to 2020, World Athletics had posted two consecutive years of substantial losses, amounting to $17.4 million (£12.7 million/€14.8 million) for 2019 and a restated $27.6 million (£20.2 million/€23.5 million) for 2018.
President Seb Coe claimed in his report that the body had “come through this year stronger, more resilient, more innovative and creative, more connected, and more confident about our sport and its future.
“And, dare I say it, a little braver,” he added.
Revenue totalled $44.2 million (£32.4 million/€37.7 million), down from $51.1 million (£37.4 million/€43.6 million) a year earlier.
While revenue from broadcast rights was little changed at $14.8 million (£10.8 million/€12.6 million), commercial rights dipped from $18 million (£13.2 million/€15.4 million) to $13 million (£9.5 million/€11.1 million).
Added to this was a profit share of $5.75 million (£4.2 million/€4.9 million), up from $4.8 million (£3.5 million/€4.1 million) in 2019, and $1.4 million (£1 million/€1.2 million) of value-in-kind, down from $6.3 million (£4.6 million/€5.4 million).
Expenses dropped from $67.8 million (£49.6 million/€57.8 million) to $41.7 million (£30.5 million/€35.6 million).
All four expense categories declined, particularly “Competition & Events”, which almost halved to $15 million (£11 million/€12.8 million).
Total equity and reserves nudged above the $30 million (£21.9 million/€25.5 million) mark, weighing in at $30.9 million (£22.6 million/€26.4 million) at year-end.
The IOC announced in July 2020 that it had allocated around $63 million (£46.1 million/€53.7 million) to IFs, with 15 Summer Olympic IFs in all being handed loans.
At the time, for some reason, specific amounts made available to individual IFs were not disclosed.
But details have slowly trickled out, along with the borrowing entities’ annual accounts.
For example, the International Swimming Federation is thought to have received $1 million (£730,000/€855,000), World Sailing $3.1 million (£2.25 million/€2.6 million), the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) around $1.5 million (£1.1 million/€1.3 million), the International Tennis Federation $3 million (£2.2 million/€2.55 million) and the International Cycling Union $5 million (£3.6 million/€4.2 million).
Sums loaned are to be docked from the amounts each individual IF is ultimately earmarked for the contribution of its sport to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
In World Athletics’s case, this was expected to be about $40 million (£29.3 million/€34,1 million) – it remains to be seen, however, whether these payments to IFs get reduced as a consequence of all the COVID-related disruption and associated costs.