Thursday 5 October 2006

Frederik to be nominated as Denmark's IOC member

Crown Prince Frederik announced he has been nominated to become Denmark's next International Olympic Committee member, at a press conference in Copenhagen, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006. The 38-year-old heir to Denmark's throne, is being lined up to replace Kai Holm, who reaches the IOC's 70-year age limit in 2009.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he had no problems with Frederik being nominated, saying the job was compatible with the prince's duties as a member of the royal family.

During a brief news conference, Frederik said he would avoid mixing sports and politics. Under Denmark's Constitution, the royal family has no political power and is barred from involvement in party politics.

Culture Minister Brian Mikkelsen, whose department covers sports, retracted a statement made in 1998 when Frederik was advised not to seek to replace Niels Holst-Soerensen, Denmark's then IOC member.

"I support the crown prince's candidacy and I am sure he will be a very good representative for Denmark. I have no qualms whatsoever today to support his candidacy," Mikkelsen said.

Frederik — an avid yachtsman, horseman and marathon runner — will come up for membership at the IOC assembly in Copenhagen in September 2009.

The IOC currently has 114 members and there are a number of royals among them, including Prince Albert (Monaco), Princess Anne (Great Britain), Prince Tunku Imran (Malaysia), Grand Duke Henri (Luxembourg), Princess Nora (Liechtenstein), Prince Willem-Alexander (The Netherlands) and Ex King Constantine of Greece.

Ekstra Bladet video clip (02:48)

From The Copenhagen Post:
Crown Prince up for IOC position

A top position at the International Olympic Committee could be in the cards for Crown Prince Frederik

The prime minister's office and Ministry of Culture have both given the green light, and Queen Margrethe II has been informed. And with the Crown Prince himself having consented, there doesn't appear to be any obstacles that could prevent his candidacy for a top IOC post, reports daily newspaper Politiken.

Crown Prince Frederik's career in international sports politics could prove a valuable trump card in the campaign to seal Copenhagen's bid to host the summer games in 2024.

Politiken reports that Kai Holm, an IOC member since 2002, and chairman of the Sports Federation of Denmark for almost a quarter century, has been working on making the Crown Prince an IOC candidate since 2004. Holm himself is approaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

'The Crown Prince has agreed to run in the autumn of 2009, when the IOC hierarchy is due to meet in Copenhagen,' Kai Holm confirmed. 'It's Crown Prince Frederik or no-one, so we're glad he'll be running.'

IOC president Jacques Rogge has also accepted the Danish Crown Prince's candidacy, which all but guarantees a vote.

Crown Prince Frederik has long been a great sports and fitness enthusiast. In addition to his military training as a frogman, Frederik is an avid runner and tennis player.

Danish Crown Prince IOC candidate Seven News/Yahoo (Australia)

Added Saturday 7 October 2006: From The Copenhagen Post addressing some of the concerns about conflict of interest between the impartial constitutional position of royalty in Denmark and the potential political nature of the IOC:

Crown Prince game for the challenge

Crown Prince Frederik's decision to bid for a place in the IOC will be a delicate balance between the royal and the civil

'It's Crown Prince Frederik or no one,' said Holm.

The Crown Prince readily acknowledged that he is inexperienced and that certain issues may prove delicate for a member of royalty.
'There are obviously some issues that I can't respond to. I think that the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark would be the professionally competent channel I'd rely on and go to in extreme cases, if there were anything to put me on the spot as an apolitical person.'
The Crown Prince is not exactly without qualifications, however. He received his MA in political science from Århus University in 1995, and he trained rigorously in all three branches of the Danish military, currently holding the title of commander in the navy. He has also worked in diplomatic capacities in both New York and Paris.
'I believe that my life experiences can be put to use. I can see beyond the rhetoric and attitudes of groups and individuals,' said the Crown Prince.
Royalty in the public sector
Crown Prince Frederik is not the first member of royalty to step into the world of the IOC. Holland's crown prince, Willem-Alexander, has been on the committee since 1998.
'The worry was that Crown Prince Willem-Alexander wouldn't be able to separate his duties as a member of the royal family and represent Holland in the IOC. But it's gone well. He's shown he can keep the two sides distinct,' said sports consultant Dr Berend Rubingh to daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende.
Signs are that most of the public - and many experts as well - support the Crown Prince's decision and believe he could handle the job.
'As a future state monarch he has to be able to handle work like this,' said Jes Fabricius Møller, historian and Danish royalty expert at the University of Copenhagen. 'It's a logical extension of his earlier education.'
Conflict of interest
Not everyone believes the matter is so simple, however. Many politicians and experts think that the Crown Prince's position compromises both him and the Danish royal house.
'If I were the Crown Prince, I'd stay away from this job,' said Jens Elo Rytter, external lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Copenhagen.
'Our monarchy is based on the premise that the royal family is apolitical. Sports and politics can't be divided on that plane, because even larger political and heavier economic interests are at play.'
Resolute, but still just a fan
The Crown Prince himself is confident in his abilities, but said he's just a fan at heart.
'You can always find me at the Olympics arenas, where I sit and whoop and yell. I think it's extremely engaging and it really gets my blood pumping. Sometimes I wish there had been a sport I could have participated in myself. That's just a dream, of course, but as they say - dreams are toll-free.'
The Copenhagen Post

Added Nov 1: Bring on the torch from The Copenhagen Post

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