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----- Original Message -----

From: SAMMA

Sent: 8.41am, May 22, 1994

Subject: LETTER TO JOHN COATES


 

Rachel,

 

I'm stranded in the Olympic Airways VIP lounge in Baghdad  where I've been in discussions with our Iraqi delegates the Hussein Brothers. We've been throwing around the possibility of holding the Games here in 2004. It look promising. There's plenty of money being splashed around and a fair slice of it has been earmarked for IOC travel and expenses. We could call it the Arab Games.

 

I'm waiting for a replacement plane to come in from Athens. We were ready for take-off when the pilot informed us of a technical hitch and we all had to get off. I think I'll be here for a couple of hours.

 

Would you be kind enough to call Albert in Monaco and let him know I'll be late for our luncheon engagement. He's had Anne staying with him for the last few days and I'm looking forward to seeing her too. Can you also ring Michael Killanin and let him and his driver know that I will be a couple of hours late for dinner. Tell him I will phone him as soon as I arrive in Dublin's fair city.

 

Also can you brush up this email below and send it off to John Coates in Australia for me? I have mislaid his email address.

 

Thanks

 

Juan

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

TO: JOHN COATES

FROM: Samma

 

My dearest John,

 

I'm stranded in an airport lounge in Baghdad on my way back from Iraq where I've been holding discussions with our two IOC representatives there, the Hussein brothers. They're both exceptionally nice chaps, not a vindictive bone in their body.

 

The delay is a bit of a bugger really because I'm due to see Albert and Anne in Monaco and Killanin in Dublin before the day's out. Any way it gives me the opportunity to send you a note bringing you up to date on Olympic matters.

 

Actually I'm as busy as Bosnian bricklayer at the moment. After I see Killanin I have to go to New York to see our new financial adviser, Bernie Madoff. If you've got any spare cash left over from your investment in the Cairns Casino I recommend you drop Bernie a line. He's at 885 Third Avenue and you can phone him on 212-230-2424. You should have lunch with him when next you're in New York. He's got a pretty flash outfit and their investment returns are something out of this world.

 

I spoke to your Minister Faulkner in Geneva last week over lunch. Whilst he doesn't have as healthy an appetite as his predecessor, Minister Richardson, he does have a high regard for you and the work you are doing at the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Rowing Federation, the AOC and David Jones. He told me he's got shares in DJ's.

 

My impression of Faulkner is that he's completely out of his depth in this portfolio. He'd be better off in Defence where his aide de camp could look after him. Anyway, he did pick up the tab for the meal - which means Richardson must have let him in on the secret that there's a bit of nudge, nudge, wink, wink going on here!

 

He let it slip that Prime Minister Keating has greatly appreciated your counsel and has given the quest for the Sydney Olympics the Government's highest sporting priority. Your work on the Australian Institute of Sport has been highly valued and respected. You have stamped your mark as a leader.

 

I know former Prime Minister Hawke is an avid sportsman. Both Hawke and Keating believe the Olympics in Sydney will put Australia on the map - and will be worth every dollar of the estimated $10B it is going to cost the Australian taxpayer.

 

Faulkner said the Government had got Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer on side and was bringing in a PR firm to convince the Australia's mug taxpayers that the money spent on the Olympics would encourage more people to start playing sport. They were worried sports clubs couldn't handle it. He said the Treasurer had told him that the anticipated fitness benefit alone will bring about a 40% decline in visits to doctors and hospitals.

 

Faulkner and I spoke about the $88m that the NSW government will present to the Australian Olympic Committee just prior to the Sydney Olympics. I thought it was going to be $100m. WTF.

 

Premier Fahey doesn't know anything about it, so keep this information under your hat. I've met Mr Fahey.  Since Greiner got the boot he's had a lot on his plate, all the more reason for him to give you the $88m so he doesn't have to be involved. As you are aware, we're betting the the Leader of the Opposition, Bob Carr will win the next election. It's Carr and Richardson who have stitched up the $88M payment.

 

John make sure you have a big long lunch with Richardson every month from here until the Olympics and if you can make sure Carr is there. If you need money just give me a hoy.

 

We are currently casting around for one of Fahey's ministers who has the sporting inclination to take over the role of Olympics Minister. But, in anticipation of a change of government - sooner rather than later - our sources have recommended you cultivate a friendship with Mr Knight from the electorate of Campbelltown. I will pass on the name of our contact at Burson-Marsteller to get in touch with you. I heard on the grapevine that Burson want to have a chat with you anyway, so you could kill two birds with one stone; are you with me?

 

Anyway, now the deal for the transfer of the $88m to the AOC is all stitched up, I can say without fear of contradiction that Sydney will get the nomination for the 2000 Olympics.

 

John, I want to provide you with some highly privileged information. As you are aware, there are three IOC organisations, the public face comprised of royalty and octogenarians, the Executive Committee and the Conclave. The Olympic Conclave has been modelled on the Cosa Nostra and the Vatican State. Like the Knight's Templar it has 9 members. We have established separate financial arrangements with Madoff so we can come and go as we please.

 

John, for some time now the IOC Conclave has been watching your rise to power and influence in Australian sporting circles. It has been a meteoric and much deserved rise. You can, as you Australian's say, 'suck your guts in and puff your chest out' with pride. You are very persistent and successful in drawing government attention to the Olympic movement. Don't tell him I said this, but Richardson said you've been sticking to the Government 'like shit to a blanket'. Never forget that as Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Sports Commission you are our mole, you are our eyes and ears. Keep them open.

 

I'm sure you'll soon be wearing an Australian honour award on the lapel of your suit coat. I also understand that the Henley Organising Committee will shortly be in touch with you to present the medals at the annual regatta. This will be a very big feather in your cap. It is a highly coveted role, usually reserved for royalty - but maybe that is something else to which you aspire.

 

The members of the Olympic Conclave wish me to let you know how very much they appreciate your work on its behalf, particularly the $90m. We will, in due course, have to work out how the Conclave can receive it's consideration.

 

I'm predicting Sydney will be the best Olympics yet. Minister Faulkner agrees with me as do Kevan and Phil.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that after your success in 2000, you will be invited to join the IOC as a full member for life, representing not Australia, but us and your good self. This grace and favour appointment has already been stitched up by the Conclave. It will involve lots of trips 'down the sharp end', five star accommodation and plenty of Grange Hermitage and Krug, something I know you relish. You'll need to watch your weight.

 

Once you are on the IOC I picture your rapid rise to the position of first, Vice President and then President. Like yourself, the Conclave members have high ambition for you. Membership of the IOC and the Conclave will be assured as soon as the Sydney Olympics are over.

 

Unfortunately, and despite his own vaulting ambition, Kevan will never get the top spot. He tries too hard and he's been held back ever since his little mate, Phil Coles got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Our nomination committee favours Jacques Rogge. But after Jacques has completed his presidency, there is no doubt in my mind that you will be our top candidate.

 

John, as we have discussed, the final jewel in your crown as a sports administrator will be the establishment of the new Olympic State in Avignon, home of the former French Papal State and close to the birthplace of our dear founder, the Baron De Coubertin.

 

Like the Papal State, the Olympic State will have full rights to govern sport throughout the world as well as full voting rights at the United Nations.

 

The Governing Council of the Vaucluse Department are excited by the possibility and have set aside a nominal amount of land for the purpose. They anticipate a phenomenal boost in revenue from tourism. It is their hope (and mine) that eventually Avignon will become the permanent home of the Olympic Games. It will save us having to get our hands dirty every four years selecting the next venue.

 

The French Government is also enthusiastic about the project, being another opportunity to stick it up the Greeks, the Swiss, the English and the Italians.

 

I'm currently in discussions with the Swiss Guard regarding the formation of a security detail. They come with the recommendation and high regard of our Holy Father. The financial success of the project is assured since Madoff came on board.

 

John, your role in attaining this goal will be pivotal to its success. Your title will be, the Crown Prince of Sport, His Excellency, Baron Coates of Avignon.

 

The establishment of the Olympic State was an ambition I set myself when I first became involved in the Olympic Movement just prior to the Berlin Olympics in 1936. It was a project in which his Excellency, Herr Hitler was particularly interested and almost came to fruition when the Germans invaded France. Unfortunately the collapse of the Third Reich put an end to that ambition, at least until now. It is definitely on the drawing board of the IOC Conclave.

 

John, you have been chosen to make the dream a reality. You have broad Antipodean shoulders and they are about to get a lot broader.

 

Whilst it is doubtful that I will see it in my lifetime, I have no doubt that you will see the Olympic flag flying high at Avignon in yours.

 

John, even though I know you share my great ambition, I also know that there are dark moments when you cast your mind over the tin pot bunch of sports that are members of the Australian Olympic Family. Whilst I know we've shared a laugh about the associations that could hold their annual general meeting in a phone box and don't have two sticks to rub together. I know it pains you that some Australian associations wanting to compete on the International stage don't have a national club competition.

 

I know you sometimes think 'Why am I rooting for a mob of sports that don't know how to root for themselves?'

 

John, you are still young. Get over it.

 

For my part I don't give a shit about  national sporting associations. I know your predecessor, Syd Grange didn't give a shit about them either. He didn't even give a shit when Dawn Fraser got rubbed out. He was more interested in the trips. Dawn has a soft spot for me! It's what's kept her sniffing around the Games for the last 40 years.

 

John, I'll let you in on a little secret, no-one involved with the Olympic Conclave gives a shit about national sports associations. We're above all that. I'd encourage you to take the same attitude. Once you're a member of the IOC Family it's the big, grande picture you need to focus on. What a spectacle it is when those teams march into the arena, in lock step with our ideals.

 

And never forget that the main reason for the Olympic Games is for the host country to show off at the opening ceremony - and for people like us to get trips. John, I love trips. I know you love trips. Stay focused on trips. The rest is bullshit.

 

John, I'm worried about you. Every time I ring you up at home you're never there, you're off to some sporting association dinner or awards night. Christ knows how your wife puts up with all of this; and your kids. Every time I talk to her I can just see her rolling her eyes as she tries to explain away the importance of what ever you've gone to. She told me the only reason she hasn't bailed out is because of the frequent flyer points.

 

Get a grip on yourself. Stay away from all these pissant functions. They'll only make you fatter. Get out of Rowing Australia. They're a bunch of private school poofters. Stay home. Keep your eye on the big picture.

 

John take heart, ours is a great and lofty cause. Should you want it, the mantle is yours to wear. Keep your eye on the world-wide hegemony of the Olympic Movement; the power and the glory of Sport at Avignon. In a few short years, with you at the helm; FIFA, IAAF, FISA, UCI, FIBA, ITF and the rest of the rag bag collection of jumbled letters will bow down at your feet.

 

Finally, John I have a small suggestion for you. If you want sleep well at night, in the absolute certainty that Sydney will be the host city for the 2000 Olympics, I suggest you offer $A50,000 to each to the national Olympic committees of Kenya and Uganda and provided their delegates with expensive hotel accommodation in London and other gifts. John, you need a bag man. I'll give Phil Coles a call.

 

Better still, buy yourself a Gladstone bag. I have one and carry it around with me every where I go. It's amazing how much of the green stuff you can fit into it.

 

John, I pass the Olympic torch on to you with all my best wishes. I'm sure I'll be seeing you again before we meet in Atlanta. As the Chef De Mission I know your Aussie team will be cooking up something. 

 

In strictest confidence and my very best wishes,

 

Your dear friend, confidente and mentor, your little Spanish mate.

 

Viva Olympia.

 

Samma

 

22nd May 1994

 

PS Don't forget to call Madoff.