Olympics: AOC boss Coates takes pay cut due to coronavirus


MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates said on Friday he has taken a 20% cut to his “consulting fees” due to the coronavirus crisis.

Coates’s fees were A$594,000 ($360,000) for 2020 but he said he would take only A$475,600.

“I have taken this decision as a consequence of the COVID-19 health and financial crisis confronting all sectors of Australian society and from which the AOC is not immune,” he said in a statement.

Coates also trimmed his fees in 2018 following a challenge to his presidency the previous year from Olympic hockey gold medallist Danni Roche.

Much of Roche’s losing campaign had focused on Coates’s pay and she had pledged to cut the AOC’s administration costs and divert funds to Australian sports.

Coates, hugely influential in global sport and the chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games, said the AOC would declare a surplus of A$5.44 million for 2019 in its annual report later this month.

The AOC’s foundation, which prepares Australia’s athletes to compete at Olympics, increased to A$171.42 million in 2019 from A$150.88 million.

“However, indications are that the impact of the COVID-19-inspired financial crisis will see the Foundation return to its 31 December 2018 asset base in the short term, if not already, and in receipt of significantly reduced returns as companies underperform and suspend dividends,” Coates said.

“This is a snap overview of the challenges the AOC faces.

“While we are in a comparatively strong financial position for a not-for-profit sports organisation … these are nevertheless uncertain times and from which the AOC and Foundation are not immune.”

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford