John Coates is applying to become an individual IOC member ©Getty Images

John Coates is taking a major step towards extending his International Olympic Committee (IOC) membership by applying to be an "individual" member.

The change, which must be approved here by the IOC Session on Saturday (September 16), means he will no longer be a member only by virtue of being President of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

This will increase his prospects of remaining as a member of sport's most exclusive club until 2024.

He will first have to be re-elected to his NOC position, however, something expected to be a formality.

"Mr Coates will indeed be subject for re-election during the IOC Session in Lima after eight years of membership (in his function of NOC President)," a spokesperson told insidethegames today.

"Mr Coates is proposed for change of status from NOC to individual member. 

"The vote by the Session will take on the last day of the Session."

Coates, who will end his term as an IOC vice-president this week and leave the Executive Board, told The Australian that the change had been proposed by the IOC Nominations Commission before receiving Board approval.

The 67-year-old, an IOC member since 2001, defeated hockey gold medallist Danni Roche by 58 votes to 35 to extend his AOC tenure for what he promised would be a final four-year term in May.

If he had not been successful in this vote, he would have immediately lost his membership in the same way that Sir Philip Craven did this week when vacating his position as President of the International Paralympic Committee.

John Coates, left, is a close ally of IOC President Thomas Bach ©Getty Images
John Coates, left, is a close ally of IOC President Thomas Bach ©Getty Images

In theory, Coates - also chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 - will have to retire as a member when he reaches the age limit of 70 in 2020 - so before this term expires.

But, according to a rule change passed by the IOC as part of their Agenda 2020 reforms in 2014, the IOC may decide a "one-time extension of an IOC member’s term of office for a maximum of four years, beyond the current age limit of 70". 

insidethegames understands that this would be a major reason for Coates' change to individual member.

The other is if, for any reason, he is required to leave the AOC position early, something he currently insists he has no plans to do.

"To be clear, my proposed re-election to the IOC, along with 15 others, after eight years of membership will in my case be in my function as NOC President and until end 2020," Coates confirmed to insidethegames today.

"I would not have been eligible for such re-election if I had lost the AOC Presidency.

"If this re-election is approved by the IOC Session here in Lima, I will then be proposed to this Session for a change of status from NOC President to Independent Individual member.

"A change of status will mean my membership will be continuous.

"I will still be subject to retirement at the end of the year in which I turn 70, i.e. 2020."