Monday, September 28, 2015

Supreme Court, IOC, FIVB, CAS and more in Lausanne, Switzerland

With a population of 130,000 Lausanne is only the fifth largest city in Switzerland. Yet it is home to the Federal Tribunal (pictured above)--Switzerland's equivalent to the US Supreme Court.  When passing the courthouse the other day I noticed the US flag flying atop so, me being me, I had to go inside to find out why. A delegation from the US was visiting. Didn't think much about it until the next day when US Attorney General Loretta Lynch was on television in Zurich holding a news conference concerning the ongoing investigation into FIFA. If like me you aren't into soccer then you probably don't know FIFA (Federation International Football Federation) is the world governing body for soccer. FIFA is the one who puts on the World Cup every four years. Take the number of people who watch the NFL's Super Bowl, add the people who watch baseball's World's Series, hockey's Stanley Cup, the NBA finals PLUS, add in the Olympics and you still don't come close to the World Cup, the most popular sporting event in the world.

Check my blog back in July 2011 and you'll see photos of FIFA's fancy head office in Zurich.  When visiting companies back in 2002 I twice attempted to visit FIFA at their previous opulent offices in Zurich and each time received a real crummy reception (to read the story go to, click on "Archived Stories", them scroll to "Archive Three").

About three blocks from the Federal Tribunal in Lausanne stands this unassuming building--home to the CAS. Doesn't ring a bell?
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is like the Supreme Court for sports. During the Olympics when an athlete gets disqualified or stripped of his/her medal for doping or a soccer player gets suspended for fighting or a cyclist in the Tour de France gets booted or stripped of his medal for drug use (remember Floyd Landis)---the CAS is the last court of appeal for an athelete.
I've posted pictures of this before but, since we're talking about sports--Lausanne is home to the IOC, the International Olympic Committee. The is the villa on Lausanne's lakeside where IOC President Thomas Bach has his office
This building, connected via a glass walkway to the villa, houses more staff of the IOC. The Olympics is BIG business with billions of dollars flowing around. Not that far back the IOC had to deal with scandals similar to FIFA concerning payoffs, bribes and so on.
Which leads me to this place near Lausanne's train station. This is the home to FIG--Federation International Gymnastics. The previous building tenant was the FIVB--Federation International Volleyball.
What's the new address for the FIVB? This fancy villa on Lausanne's lakeside (click on the image to enlarge).  The Lake Geneva lakeside in Lausanne at the turn-of-the-century was lined with opulent villas. What the heck is a volleyball association doing with property like this? I spent more than 20 years cycling the globe visiting the head offices of more 4,000 companies and organizations and I've seen my share of ego-driven plush trophy offices. Unless the place was bequeathed to the FIVB I think it's a scandal for them to use association funds to purchase this property. The grounds are immaculate and the building is a real beauty. They're doing some kind of construction on the property and don't know if it's another building or a volleyball court.

So, getting back to FIG (Federation International Gymnastics). Remember the picture earlier of their offices (formerly the offices of FIVB (volleyball)? Look at the next photo.

This new building under construction--right next door to FIG's current offices--when finished will be FIG's new offices! Simply amazing that these sports federations need to have fancy digs.  Many, many sports federations are headquartered in Lausanne due to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) being based here. Wait until I show you pictures of the pink villa housing the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).

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