TOKYO, SEPT. 14 -- The decision-making panel of the International Olympic Committee agreed today to consider measures that could severely tighten eligibility for future Olympic sports and athletes. The IOC's executive board approved a "general philosophy and principles about how to proceed" with plans to limit growth of the Games, committee spokeswoman Michele Verdier said.
The board, in the second day of meetings before the IOC session begins Sunday, also adopted a $13.7 million plan to help nations send teams to the 1992 Winter and Summer Games.
The IOC's Solidarity fund, established more than a decade ago to help developing countries finance Olympic projects and funded primarily from television rights fees, will pay for air fare and board for three athletes and one official from each country at the Winter Olympics, and six athletes and two officials from each country at the Summer Olympics. In addition, each national Olympic committee gets equipment funding ($6,000 for Winter, $8,000 for Summer) and $800 for each athlete who competes.
The IOC can afford it. The board was told television rights fees and sponsorships would produce nearly $2 billion by the time the '92 Games are staged.
In the past decade, the Olympics have attracted record numbers of athletes and sports. In Barcelona in 1992, there will be 237 gold medals awarded in 25 sports; the IOC this summer imposed a ceiling of 10,000 athletes for those Games. The Winter Games' schedule is "well-balanced and stable" and will not be effected by the squeeze, Verdier said.
IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch has said the time may be near when outdated sports are dropped from the Summer Olympics and replaced by more popular ones. Verdier said discussion so far has not dealt with particular sports but the need to limit the growth rate.
She said the IOC's program commission would conduct a sport-by-sport review and make its first report in December. She said no final action could be expected for at least a year. Restrictions considered may include tighter qualifying standards, tougher rules for adding sports and eliminating artificial team competition in individual events, she said.