Monitor: Comment on the sacking of six officials from the International Olympic Committee

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The Independent Culture
THERE'S GOOD news and bad news about the Olympic scandals. The good news is that the International Olympic Committee yesterday expelled six of its members identified as having taken bribes to award the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City. The bad news is that IOC Chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch is around.

The problem with international organizations like the IOC is that they are prone to corruption on two fronts. First, because there is no institutional oversight, members begin to believe that they can get away with anything. Until now. Second, they begin to confuse their own interests with the high ideals they claim to be promoting. The IOC as constituted is probably unreformable. New blood is certainly needed if anything worthwhile is to get done at all. Samaranch must go. The sooner the better.

Globe & Mail, Canada

THE CURRENT IOC has lost the right to lead. A purge is needed - that of Samaranch. But can a corrupted body clean itself? Sponsors, largely US corporations that underwrite the games, do not want to be associated with a tawdry affair. If sponsors pull out, it will be impossible for cities such as this one to stage Olympic-style events in the future. And if reform does not take place, sponsors will flee. Olympic rules are clear; they simply have been ignored and, with them, so have the Olympic ideals of fair play and international good will. Total reform, not a whitewash, is essential.

San Antonio Express News, US

THERE ARE even murmurings of a European Union boycott of the Sydney Games. While this would be most regrettable, the disgust at the continuing scandals associated with the Olympic movement is understandable. If the Olympic ideal is to be revived, the process of choosing the host city for the games needs to be made much more transparent and IOC members more accountable.

Yet as long as Mr Samaranch remains, so too will the question of whether there is sufficient will in the IOC leadership for reform.

The Age, Australia

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