Duncan Mackay
David Owen ©ITGDo I detect a whiff of panic in IOC Towers?

I say this because of the rather breathless way the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has gone about publicising what it calls its "indemnity policy with regard to the IOC members" -basically the payments they are entitled to as volunteers while on IOC business.

It is not so much the text of the announcement itself, which bore the gloriously, indeed classically, dull headline, "Status of the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020".

It is rather the decision to unveil the policy "now", with the Boston 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid struggling with poor local poll ratings among a citizenry plainly still not convinced about the benefits of mega-event hosting, "and not to wait until the publication of the IOC's annual report as proposed by recommendation 29 of the Olympic Agenda 2020 [reform programme]".

That plus an informal heads-up emailed to a colleague suggesting that the decision to publish details of all allowances, including the President's, might be the first time a sports organisation had done such as thing.

Actually, anyone taking the trouble to read the IOC's financial reports - admittedly you have to keep going all the way until the final page - has been able to ascertain the payments made to the President for some time now.

When I last did so, in September 2013, I learnt that the cost of then-President Jacques Rogge's residence expenses,"(room rent, living expenses, residence taxes, insurance)", were $751,000 (£507,000/€691,000) in 2011 and $709,000 (£440,000/€651,000) in 2012.

The IOC says that its new procedure will "lead to savings for the IOC and to transparency" - and there is no reason to doubt that.

However, once the cost of current President Thomas Bach's accommodation in Lausanne's Palace Hotel is added to his annual "indemnity" of €225,000 (£164,000/$243,000), I can't think why his cost to the organisation would be so very different to his predecessor's.

I happen to think that $750,000 (£506,000/€690,000) a year is not such bad value for a figure who, as the IOC says, is "on a mission for the IOC 365 days a year", but that, for the purposes of today's piece, is a side issue.

Thomas Bach's payment from the IOC for being President is relatively modest for the position ©Getty ImagesThomas Bach's payment from the IOC for being President is relatively modest ©Getty Images

Yesterday's disclosures also somehow omit to mention that, unless I am much mistaken, IOC members are getting an increase in the payments to which they are entitled.

Under today's indemnity policy, it is proposed that IOC members and honorary members get $7,000 (£4,700/€6,400) for annual administrative support and a $450 (£304/€415) a day indemnity for attending meetings, including travelling time.

Executive Board members attending EB meetings will get $900 (£607/€828) a day.

Yet on page 80 of last November's Olympic Agenda 2020 background document, it is stated that "currently...members attending a commission meeting or attending the Olympic Games can receive an allowance of $400 (£270/€368) a day".

Members "also have the possibility to receive up to $6,000 (£4,049/€5,516) per year for their administrative costs".

The then policy for Executive Board members, meanwhile, was that they could "receive a one-off payment of $2,000 (£1,350/€1,839) for attending an EB meeting".

I make that an increase of 12.5 per cent in the basic per diem and 16.7 per cent in the administrative allowance - not outrageous, but not bad in the present economic climate.

And one that could, dare I suggest, have been presented a tad more transparently.

IOC members attending Executive Board meetings receive $900 a day ©IOCIOC members attending Executive Board meetings receive $900 a day ©IOC

I have one other bug bear about these latest disclosures: it concerns the announcement that the IOC "upon its specific request will be audited externally according to the enhanced International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), even though these higher standards are legally not required".

It sounds terribly virtuous of the IOC, doesn't it? I can almost see them sitting there glowing with the smugness of the school swot.

Well it is a good thing, but I am not sure it warrants quite such a song and dance; after all, the football governing body FIFA, not generally regarded as a paragon of good practice, has been preparing its consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRS for a while.

A final point, if I may: the letter to IOC members from IOC Ethics Commission chairman Youssoupha Ndiaye concludes by saying that the Commission "invites all the sports organisations of the Olympic Movement to establish a similar policy and make this public, in order to increase transparency within the sports movement".

If it is serious about spreading financial transparency, then I think the IOC should be far tougher and insist that all International Sports Federations (IFs) publish annual financial statements in accordance with IFRS, as a condition of Olympic/Paralympic participation.

When basic financial good practice becomes a pre-requisite, rather than something to be trumpeted in a press release, then the Movement really will have made good progress.

David Owen worked for 20 years for the Financial Times in the United States, Canada, France and the UK. He ended his FT career as sports editor after the 2006 World Cup and is now freelancing, including covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 World Cup and London 2012. Owen's Twitter feed can be accessed here.