ISU Head Defends Deal With Korean Air

International Skating Union (ISU) President Ottavio Cinquanta, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, is defending a sponsorship deal with Korean Air, reports The Associated Press.

The IOC is examining whether the deal breaches conflict of interest rules because of Korean Air’s ties to PyeongChang’s bid for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Cinquanta is an IOC member and can vote for the host city of the 2018 Games. Munich and Annecy are also bidding for the 2018 Games.

Cinquanta told The Associated Press Friday, “we’re confident that we didn’t do anything wrong. We dealt with the company and that’s all.

“There isn’t anything secret or anything wrong. I would understand if I had spoken with the (Korean) Olympic Committee and did something wrong, but that’s not the case”, he added.

Although the IOC is also examining a sponsoring deal between Samsung and rowing’s world governing body FISA, according to The Associated Press the ISU is at greater risk because skating is a winter sport and Korean Air’s chief executive, Cho Yang-ho, is head of PyeongChang’s bid.

Cinquanta said, “we never negotiated with him. Never. Nobody from my federation – me, the general director, nor the vice president – negotiated with him”.

But Cinquanta acknowledged the deal was signed this year after PyeongChang was selected one of the final three candidates. He said he couldn’t recall whether he was aware of Cho’s status as bid leader when the deal was signed.

“It’s very confusing. I’ll tell you quite frankly that I really don’t remember. We’ve now gone through all the documents and this Mr. Cho never shows up. I never spoke with him about this”.

Cinquanta added he didn’t accept even “one lira” from Cho. He said, “look at all the international sporting events and the sponsors involved. If we take away the sponsors we’ll be out of work. Sports survive on sponsorship”.