By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Late Friday, October 6th, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced it had taken the unprecedented step of suspending the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) and its disgraced former President, Carlos Arthur Nuzman.
The IOC’s move came a day after Nuzman, along with Leonardo Gryner, the general director of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, were arrested as part of a probe into allegations they helped buy votes to secure Rio de Janeiro’s hosting of the 2016 Games.
“The IOC Executive Board (EB) has taken note and discussed the circumstances of the allegations against and the arrest of Carlos Nuzman, in particular concerning the vote for the host city of the Olympic Games by the IOC Session in 2009,” read the IOC statement.
“With regard to the Brazilian Olympic Committee, the EB states that the COB and its President, Carlos Nuzman, were responsible for the candidature of Rio de Janeiro in 2009. Therefore, the EB takes the following decision with immediate effect: To suspend provisionally the Brazilian Olympic Committee.”
With respect to Nuzman, the IOC said the former honorary member was also suspended and would provisionally be stripped of all the “rights, prerogatives and functions” deriving from his IOC status.
In addition, the IOC announced it had immediately ousted Nuzman from the coordination commission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Importantly, the IOC asserted that “to protect the interests of the Brazilian athletes” the decision had no bearing on Brazil’s participation in upcoming Olympics.
“[T]he IOC will accept a Brazilian Olympic Team in the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 and in all other competitions under the umbrella of the COB.”
In addition, the organization also stressed that Olympic scholarships to Brazilian athletes would continue to be honored.
The 75-year-old Nuzman led the COB from 1995 and spearheaded Rio’s successful bid to host the 2016 Games over other finalists, Chicago, Tokyo, and Madrid.
He is accused of arranging more than US$2 million in bribes to get the IOC to pick Rio and faces allegations including corruption and money-laundering.
In a statement released over the weekend, Nuzman officially submitted his resignation as COB President claiming he wished to focus on clearing his name.
“To be able to fully exercise my right to defense, which has up until now been violated, I resign with immediate effect my duties as chairman of the Brazilian Olympic Committee.”