Sebastian Coe accused of throwing international federations "under a bus" after Paris 2024 prize money move. GETTY IMAGES

Former IOC marketing director Michael Payne claims Sebastian Coe has damaged his chances of succeeding Thomas Bach as IOC president by awarding prize money to track and field gold medallists at Paris 2024.

Last week, World Athletics announced that track and field gold medallists will receive $50,000 (€47,000) at Paris 2024, with silver and bronze medallists also being rewarded from LA 2028 onwards. World Athletics president Coe called it "a pivotal moment for World Athletics and the sport of athletics as a whole".

Payne, an Irishman with close ties to the IOC, told AFP: "What surprised everyone is that Coe took the decision unilaterally, with one hour's warning to the IOC and zero hours warning to the other federations. The federations feel, not unreasonably, that they have been thrown under the bus. What are you going to do just three months before Paris?"

Coe is seen as one of the frontrunners to succeed Thomas Bach as IOC president when he steps down next year, but Payne believes the episode has damaged his standing among IOC members. "If it was a presidential ploy, it was a gold medal of an own goal, because who is electing the president? It's the IOC members. Many of them are international federation presidents, who are apoplectic with rage," Payne added.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) confirmed in a statement on Friday that it was "neither informed nor consulted" by World Athletics, a member federation, before the announcement.

It continued, "ASOIF respects and defends the autonomy of each and every member federation. However, when a decision of one IF has a direct impact on the collective interests of the Summer Olympic IFs, it is important and fair to discuss the matter at stake with the other federations in advance."

Speaking at the Paris 2024 flame lighting ceremony at the Olympia on Tuesday, International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient criticised the move, saying: "We really believe that this is not the Olympic spirit. The proposal has not been discussed. If we concentrate money on top athletes, a lot of opportunities will disappear for them all over the world."

British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Anson had similar reservations, telling Sky Sports: "What wasn't great about last week's announcement is when one sport goes off and does something on its own and doesn't involve the other sports, doesn't involve the IOC, doesn't involve the National Olympic Committees."

"They create a problem because now other sports are clearly going to get some scrutiny or even pressure from athletes saying, 'Well, what about us? How can this sport do this and not others?'"

After being named in Great Britain's swimming squad for Paris 2024, double Olympic gold medallist Tom Dean admitted: "I think it's quite hard when someone who's done athletics, who's worked just as hard as you have for just as many years, gets this financial reward for winning medals. It's quite a stark contrast."

Tom Dean, Britain's double Olympic champion, has questioned the prize money for athletics at Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES
Tom Dean, Britain's double Olympic champion, has questioned the prize money for athletics at Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) released a statement on Thursday detailing the findings of its Athletes' Commission following consultation with athlete representatives.

"Some athlete representatives expressed concerns about the fairness of the proposal, which would result in only gold medallists from one sport being rewarded for their achievements. Concerns were also raised on the issue of clean sport, as by increasing the incentive to win even more, athletes may be at risk of betting, manipulation or pressure to turn to doping," the organisation said.

"Athletes' representatives welcomed the idea of rewarding athletes for their efforts and achievements as elite athletes, but this should not be at the expense of the solidarity model that supports and develops athletes at all levels of sport," ANOCA concluded.

Olympic 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm told AFP that he welcomed the prize money initiative, calling it "a smart move". "To be honest, anything that is offered in the form of a prize is good for the athletes, it's motivation," the Norwegian stressed.