Lord Moynihan, the British Olympic Association chairman, is facing a backlash from some of the sports he represents following his decision to pursue a controversial legal action against the London 2012 organising committee.
Moynihan, who along with BOA chief executive Andy Hunt has been suspended from the Locog board until the dispute over Olympic cash has been resolved, will face accusations that he is taking the BOA down a highly damaging path when the leaders of all 33 summer and winter Olympic sports in Britain gather in London on Tuesday for what could be a stormy National Olympic Committee meeting.
Moynihan has written to each of the NOC members setting out the reasons for his legal challenge, but he is certain to face strong opposition.
The head of one national governing body, who asked to remain anonymous, said the stance taken by Moynihan was “unacceptable” and “severely embarrassing” and that he was prepared to “take him on” in Tuesday’s meeting.
He said: “We seem to have alienated the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and now we’ve clearly got difficulties with Locog.” He also branded as “abhorrent” Moynihan’s argument that the Olympics and Paralympics should be separated for accounting purposes to boost the surplus payable to the BOA.
He said: “Where do we stand in terms of our image with the public and the international community if we’ve taken a decision, purely out of avarice, to treat able-bodied and disabled people as a different matter?”
The NOC is the BOA’s policy-making body which re-elected Moynihan as chairman in 2008 and also appoints six board members. Although any decision to halt the legal dispute would rest with the board, a groundswell of opinion against taking the case any further would be impossible to ignore.
One board member said: “I think the board would have to listen to the NOC. They would be fools not to. The board is put in post by the NOC because they are their electorate.”
The legal row centres on how Locog calculates any surplus after the 2012 Games. The BOA is entitled to a 20 per cent cut of the profit but Moynihan believes any surplus should be confined to money generated by the Olympics.
Locog insists the Paralympics, which could make a loss and reduce the amount payable to the BOA, should be included.
The IOC and the IPC have both sided with Locog but Moynihan has refused to back down and is prepared to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.