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Rogge pledges more funds for NOCs after strong outlook

Written by: Staff

SEOUL, Apr 5 (Reuters) International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has pledged more funds for National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to coincide with an expected rise in sponsor and broadcasting revenues.

During their association meeting over the past three days, NOCs had complained that insufficient funds were being made available through the IOC's lead sponsors programme worth several billion dollars.

However, Rogge said today the financial outlook until the London 2012 Summer Olympics was good and he would inform his executive board to hike the contributions to the poorer NOCs by 20 percent.

He said television rights for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 Games had so far brought in 2.9 billion dollar, with deals struck for the United States, Canada and Europe excluding Italy.

He expected the final figure to reach about 3.3 billion dollars.

''We are assured the Top VII (sponsors programme) will also be a great success,'' Rogge said referring to the IOC's major international sponsorship programme for the 2010 and 2012 Games.

SEALED DEALS The IOC had already sealed deals with six out of 11 sponsors, Rogge said.

He said television audience ratings were also on the rise, with February's Turin Games recording an estimated 20 per cent increase from the previous Winter Olympics.

''The Torino figures are excellent. The Olympic Games like the (soccer) World Cup are the most viewed events in the world,'' he said.

''It needs something exceptional to have a better audience like the landing on the moon, the death of a Pope or the election of a new Pope.'' But he warned it was necessary to assure future Games were successful if the IOC was to continue boosting its revenues.

''We have to be careful that the medium and long-term revenues are only assured if the Games are a success. We have to control the size of complexity and cost of the Games,'' he said.

''The programme is one of the major drivers of the cost.'' The IOC has set a maximum of 28 sports for the Olympics, but with baseball and softball being dropped for the 2012 Games, the London Olympics will have 26 sports.

The minimum number of sports is currently set at 15, a point the NOCs proposed to change to 25.

Rogge said this would be discussed in coming board meetings with a decision most likely in 2007.

Reuters PDS GC1137

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