Figures detailing the financial performance of World Athletics have at long last emerged, showing that the body made hefty deficits in both 2017 and 2018.
In 2018, the organisation’s revenues are put at $47.5 million (£37.4 million/€42 million), compared with expenses of $66.8 million (£52.7 million/€59.1 million), to leave an apparent deficit of $19.3 million (£15.2 million/€17 million).
In 2017, revenues were said to have amounted to $40.5 million (£31.9 million/€35.8 million) and expenses of $60.1 million (£47.4 million/€53.2 million), an apparent deficit of $19.6 million (£15.4 million/€17.3 million).
The figures were obtained by The Sports Examiner, which reports having received a phone call from an unidentified individual claiming to have knowledge of financial information provided to delegates at the Congress in Doha that preceded last year’s World Athletics Championships.
Following the recent publication of accounts by the International Modern Pentathlon Union, World Athletics is believed to have been the only remaining Summer Olympic International Sports Federation (IF) for which essentially no financial information was in the public domain.
An official of what was then the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) told insidethegames in 2015 that: “The IAAF since its move from London in 1984 is established under the laws of Monaco – see Article One of our constitution – and is not obliged and has never published its audited accounts beyond its national members.”
The new report gives a breakdown of 2018 expenses.
Administration was said to have accounted for $17.3 million (£13.6 million/€15.3 million) of the $66.8 million (£52.7 million/€59.1 million) total, with events absorbing $16.7 million (£13.1 million/€14.7 million), federation support $10.4 million (£8.2 million/€9 million), development just over $3 million (£2.3 million/€2.6 million) and communications $1.3 million (£1 million/€1.1 million).
Costs associated with the Athletics Integrity Unit were put at a substantial $7.1 million (£5.6 million/€6.2 million).
The mysterious and potentially all-embracing “other” spending category is said to have accounted for $10.9 million (£8.6 million/€9.6 million) – again, a hefty sum.
It seems possible that some of the federation’s legal costs might be bracketed in this item, but this can be no more than speculation at this point.
The report also suggests that the body’s revenues may have climbed to some $55 million (£43.4 million/€48.7 million) last year, which was, to repeat, a World Championship year.
To speculate further, these leaked figures suggest that World Athletics’ revenues over a full Olympic cycle may amount to something in the order of $200 million (£157 million/€177 million).
It received $40 million (£31.5 million/€35.4 million) as its share of the broadcasting revenues generated by the Rio 2016 Olympics, down from $45.2 million (£35.6 million/€40 million) for London 2012.
This in turn suggests that the subsidy World Athletics receives from the International Olympic Committee in exchange for the sport’s contribution to the Olympic programme amounts to somewhere in the vicinity of 20 per cent of quadrennial revenues.
The leaked figures put the athletics body’s end-2018 reserves at $45.2 million – high enough to indicate that it probably retains a reasonable cushion to help see it through the present coronavirus crisis, notwithstanding the Tokyo 2020 postponement.
World Athletics provided a lengthy statement to The Sports Examiner, but told insidethegames it could not comment on the figures themselves.