Takeda and Sheikh Ahmad replaced as heads of key IOC commissions
By Jonathan Rest
Jiří Kejval and Robin Mitchell will chair the International Olympic Committee commissions for marketing and Olympic Solidarity, respectively, succeeding disgraced duo Tsunekazu Takeda and Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
Kejval, from the Czech Republic, and Mitchell, from Fiji, were two of six new commission chairs unveiled by the IOC today, of which two are women, with the IOC championing its drive towards gender equality; a record 45.4 per cent of the positions across the IOC's 27 commissions are now occupied by women.
Kejval, president of the Czech Olympic Committee, replaces Takeda as head of the IOC marketing commission.
Takeda resigned as an IOC member in March, and will step down as president of the Japanese Olympic Committee next month, despite maintaining his innocence over allegations of corruption related to the bidding process for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Kejval's IOC membership became official in February 2018, five months later than intended after he was cleared in an ethics investigation into allegations of financial impropriety.
Mitchell was always the likely head of Olympic Solidarity, which distributes funding to national Olympic committees, considering he is now the acting president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, also succeeding Sheikh Ahmad.
Last November, the Kuwaiti powerbroker temporarily stepped aside as a member of the IOC, chairman of Olympic Solidarity and as president of ANOC, while strenuously denying any wrongdoing over a charge of forgery brought against him in Switzerland.
Sheikh Ahmad, an IOC member since 1992, and regarded as a close ally of the organisation’s president Thomas Bach, is alleged to have been involved with four others in a complex forgery scheme relating to an internal political dispute in his native Kuwait, which included staging a fictitious arbitration in Geneva.
Sheikh Ahmad is also a former board member of the IOC's Olympic Channel commission, which is now being chaired by Richard Carrion, the Puerto Rican banker and a challenger for the IOC presidency back in 2013.
Carrion succeeds Larry Probst, whose IOC membership ended in December, when he stood down as chairman of the US Olympic Committee. Probst had led the commission since it was established in 2015, and the Olympic Channel went live after the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The three other commission chairs elected today were: The Philippines' Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski (Olympic education); Finland's Sari Essayah (sport and active society); and Colombia's Luis Alberto Moreno (public affairs and social development through sport).
Meanwhile, Nicole Hoevertsz, the IOC executive board member from Aruba, has been appointed as the chair of the coordination commission for Los Angeles 2028 and vice-chair for Paris 2024.
On both accounts she replaces Patrick Baumann who died while attending last year's Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
Bach said today: “Gender equality, both on and off the field of play, is one of the key focus areas of Olympic Agenda 2020,” said President Bach. “With the number of female athletes participating at the Olympic Games, we are practically there for Tokyo 2020. Off the field of play, we will continue our efforts, but we are very proud of having reached such strong female and youth participation in a very short time.”