Eurlings faces pressure to quit IOC over assault allegation
Camiel Eurlings, the Dutch businessman and International Olympic Committee member, is facing increasing pressure in his homeland to step down from the IOC over allegations he assaulted a former girlfriend.
The incident - a mutual scuffle, according to Eurlings - occurred in July 2015 and became public knowledge when a formal police complaint was made in December that year. An out-of-court settlement was reached in March 2017, but only this week did he formally apologise in an interview with Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
Eurlings, the Netherlands' sole representative at the IOC, having replaced King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who stepped down upon his accession to the Dutch throne in 2013, told AD: "Yes, on the night of July 20 to 21, 2015 a mutual scuffle occurred between me and my ex-girlfriend. I have been silent about it for a long time and underestimated the public impact.
"In the meantime I have come to the conclusion that I have to look in the mirror and have to apologise to my ex-girlfriend, the IOC, the NOC*NSF [Dutch Olympic Committee], all Olympic athletes and even broader, the Dutch public. First of all [I express regret] for the scuffle itself.
"From the beginning, I have frequently apologised to my ex-girlfriend for my share, but after a long struggle, I recently came to the conclusion that because of my public function I also have to express my regret in public.
"I have long been silent out of respect for my ex-girlfriend... but also because I was asked to make no statements during the investigation. But I can not ignore the fact that I have a public function and it is fitting that you also account publicly."
His critics, however, insist the apology is long overdue and that he should resign from the IOC and the NOC*NSF, of which he is a board member.
The NOC*NSF athletes committee called Eurlings' apology "a step in the right direction," but its chairman Chiel Warners told public-service broadcaster NOS: "A lot of trust has been lost and that did not do the sport any good, so that will have to be restored. But the good will is shown."
Jeroen Bijl, Netherlands' chef de mission for next month's winter Olympics in PyeongChang, said the NOC*NSF wants clarity about Eurlings' position in the IOC before the games begin on 9 February.
He added: "I have an opinion about it, but it's too early for me to comment. I'm not talking about it, and the athletes are not talking about it, but the position of NOC*NSF, whatever it is, must be clear before the games."
Eurlings, a former transport minister for the Christian Democrats, left politics in 2010 to join KLM and was appointed chief executive of the Dutch airline in 2013. He resigned a year later.
Within the IOC, the 44-year-old is chairman of the communications commission, and a member of the finance commission.
The IOC said in March last year that Eurlings faced no punishment.