KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Veteran IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda has quit as head of the Japan Olympic Committee after having been indicted by French prosecutors over events during Tokyo’s successful bid to win host rights to for 2020 Olympic Games.
Takeda irritated the International Olympic Committee and its own president, Thomas Bach, by refusing to step back from his membership and leadership of the marketing commission after the scandal emerged last year.
He is understood to have felt that even a temporary stepping back might suggest guilt – which he denies – and would certainly end his prospects of sharing the glory in Tokyo next year. The IOC had originally agreed to allow Takeda to stay on beyond his 70th birthday – the standard age limit – because of the special circumstances of the Tokyo Games.
However Takeda, an IOC member since 2012 and head of its marketing commission, said today: “It is most appropriate to leave the JOC to younger leaders as we await the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and have them open up a new era.
“I have not committed any wrongdoing and I will strive to prove my innocence.”
Takeda was indicted on December 10 by investigating judges in Paris who have been trying for three years to shed light on $2m payments made to Singaporean company Black Tidings during the Tokyo bid campaign.
The investigation evolved out of a French inquiry into the murky activities of the former world athletics supremo Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack.
The IOC awarded the 2020 Games to Tokyo at its Buenos Aires congress in 2013 rather than either rival Madrid and Istanbul .
Takeda competed at showjumping in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. Later he coached the Japanese equestrian team at the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympics was Chef de Mission at the 2002 and 2004 Games.
Previously his father had also been a president of the JOC and was also an IOC member from 1967 to 1981.