Sydney and Salt Lake Olympics at risk

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The Independent Online
THE FUTURE of both the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City are in doubt following further allegations of corruption against members of the International Olympic Committee.

The scandal-hit IOC's Commission was continuing its deliberations late into the night in Lausanne, Switzerland, yesterday. Its embarrassment worsened when the man behind Sydney 2000 revealed details of how he bought the support of Africans in order to win the Games.

The president of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, explained that he arranged sports funding worth A$1.9m (then around pounds 1m) for 11 African countries. On the night before the crucial vote in 1993 he offered delegates from Kenya and Uganda A$35,000 each for athletes at home. Sydney won the Games by two votes.

"We didn't win it on the beauty of the city and the sporting facilities we had to offer, and we were never going to," said Mr Coates, who claimed to have acted within IOC guidelines. He was responding to inducements offered by his closest rivals in Peking.

The IOC was completing its investigation into allegations of corruption over the awarding of the Winter Games to Salt Lake City: 13 IOC members are said to have accepted gifts and services worth more than $600,000 (pounds 375,000) during the Utah state capital's campaign to host the 2002 Games. Two of the accused have already resigned, and the others may be expelled today.

A member of the 2000 campaign team for Manchester, which finished third behind Sydney and Peking, is demanding compensation. Manchester spent more than pounds 5m on its bid, said Graham Stringer, now an MP: "We played by the rules."

Further claims of IOC corruption in Europe, Asia and America continue to emerge.

Focus, page 23; Sport, Section 2

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