Pat Hickey has been appointed to the newly-created position as head of the IOC's Olympic Autonomy Commission.

President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach elected Hickey to the position.

The new role will involve the management and provision of solutions for national Olympic committees who run into problems with interference from governments or local political interests.

A recent example of this was the suspension of the Indian Olympic Committee for 14 months following the election of officials linked to corruption. Other national Olympic committees recently suspended by the IOC included Kuwait and Ghana, while Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been threatened by sanctions.

Hickey’s appointment is part of sweeping new IOC changes instigated by recently elected President Bach from Germany and sees Hickey also retain his key roles in the IOC's Marketing Commission and on the vital Rio Games Commission.

He will be acting for Bach on all autonomy issues and will report directly to him.

Hickey, who is on the Executive Board of the IOC, is widely recognised as a problem solver and this new appointment further strengthens his role in the Olympic movement.

Hickey said: "Governmental and other interferences in the autonomy of national Olympic committees are as big a problem as doping and illegal gambling.

“President Bach believes it needs a heavyweight person to set matters straight and that's where I come in. Anything that threatens the status of a national Olympic committee is very serious for the organisation, the nation involved and its athletes.

"The IOC needs to take a firm grip on autonomy issues and this will take a lot of work in the future. It's going to be a great challenge.”