Cycling body’s finances hit hard by lost races, delayed Olympics due to virus
The Associated Press
GENEVA — The International Cycling Union took “some drastic action” on Thursday to cut costs amid a revenue shortfall from hundreds of events canceled or postponed during the coronavirus pandemic, including the Tokyo Olympics.
Cycling’s financial outlook is among the bleakest revealed by an Olympic sport’s governing body since the Tokyo Games were rescheduled to 2021.
UCI president David Lappartient and other managers have reduced salaries and allowances, and all 130 employees at its Swiss headquarters and training center are on full or partial furlough.
“Our international federation is going through a crisis that we haven’t experienced since the Second World War,” Lappartient said.
The 28 core Summer Games sports were due to share at least $540 million from the IOC in Tokyo Olympic revenues.
The UCI reported getting 25 million Swiss francs ($25.75 million) from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. It could have expected the same or more in 2020 for organizing 22 medal events in road and track events, mountain biking and BMX. Now the UCI warns the one-year delay in Tokyo “will lead to a considerable loss of earnings.”
“We need to anticipate both a possible postponement — to 2021 — of the payment of Olympic revenues initially expected in the second semester of 2020, and a probable reduction of the sum paid to the International Federations,” the cycling body said.
The IOC said last week it was too early to comment on possible financial plans with the governing bodies.
For the UCI, hosting and registration fees paid by race organizers including world championships added up to 45% of its 181 million Swiss francs ($187 million) revenue from 2015-18, according to its most recent accounts.
The UCI said it will reimburse registration fees paid for races later canceled. It has received “more than 650 requests” to postpone or cancel events through August.
However, the Tour de France is still due to start June 27 and the Sept. 20-27 road world championships, racing past UCI headquarters in Aigle, “would appear to be safe.”
The UCI’s financial reserves — about 45 million Swiss francs ($46.5 million) in its accounts for 2018 — are also taking a hit.
“Our asset portfolio has suffered from the effects of the pandemic on the financial markets, combined with the collapse of oil prices,” the governing body said.
The UCI is likely to be eligible for financial help, including interest-free loans, in an emergency program approved last month by the Swiss federal government.
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