President Thomas Bach has stepped up his criticism of public authorities at the IOC Session today ©Getty Images

Thomas Bach has stepped up his criticism of public authorities which he claims are "ignoring the differences" between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and "purely commercial companies" operating within the sports market.

In his report to the IOC Session here today, Bach softened his stance towards commercial enterprises involved in sport but claimed it was unfair for the Olympic Movement to be placed in the same bracket as them.

He called for public authorities to respect the organisation by "taking this distinction into consideration whenever they take decisions which affect sport".

Bach also claimed "narrow self-interest" was challenging the current model.

"We are calling on them to respect our social mission, to respect our solidarity model and to recognise our invaluable contribution to society," Bach told IOC members.

"We organise competitions for all athletes from all sports, regardless if these competitions are commercially successful or not. 

"We are not cherry picking."

Bach has previously stressed the need for National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to work with their Governments to defend the European sport model from the perceived threat of commercial enterprises but today he admitted some were "legitimate".

The longstanding system has seen sport controlled by accepted National and International Federations.

Others, however, believe that these bodies are insisting on an unfair monopoly of what should be a freer and more commercially-driven market.

Bach claimed the willingness of commercial companies to get involved demonstrated the "ever-growing relevance of sport in society".

IOC President Thomas Bach gave his report to the Session today ©IOC
IOC President Thomas Bach gave his report to the Session today ©IOC

"These commercial sports companies operate like regular for-profit businesses," Bach told delegates. 

"They just want to have a piece of the cake, for not the say the money, or the cherries of the cake.

"On the one hand, they are bringing fresh ideas and inspire us how sport can be presented in new and innovative ways, appealing to youth and all generations. 

"Therefore, they also deserve a profit.

"But what is not fair at all, is that more and more public authorities are ignoring the differences between these purely commercial companies and us, as values-based organisations."

Bach warned this issue was also a challenge for NOCs, who he claims are "faced with the difficult task of how to balance the interests of individual athletes against the need to support all athletes from all sports".

"They have to deal with interest and pressure groups," he said.

"In some countries and some sports, there are even clubs who literally own athletes. 

"Also here we see how narrow self-interest is challenging the solidarity model."

Bach's comments come amid several ongoing disputes between sporting bodies and so-called commercial enterprises, most notably in basketball and swimming.

The International Basketball Federation have been involved in a feud with EuroLeague over the sport's calendar in what the world body claim is a "commercially-driven attack to the national teams".

Similarly, the National Hockey League decided not to halt its season to allow its players to participate in the men's ice hockey competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, as it had for the previous five editions.

The International Swimming Federation was unable to stop the emergence of the rival International Swimming League, which has been viewed as a threat to their World Cup circuit, but then launched its own Champions Swim Series in response.