Samaranch's outrage bears the hallmark of hypocrisy

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The Independent Online

Talk about irony. The word is that the South Korean Kim Un-Yong's bid to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as president of the International Olympic Committee failed because of an ethical weakness.

Kim's crime was to suggest that IOC members received an annual stipend of around $50,000 (£35,000). In his opinion it would cover reasonable first-class air travel, five-star hotel accommodation – and who knows it might even put the odd kid through college – and would certainly obviate the need to shake down prospective Olympic hosts in the fashion of bent cops having their morning coffee and bagel.

Samaranch, who lobbied so hard for his successor Jacques Rogge, was outraged. Rogge got the job, be sure, because Samaranch wanted him. The former president, scarcely believably, also changed the rules so that as an honorary president he can continue to sit in on all the IOC's executive meetings. For 21 years Samaranch has travelled like a prince, with trappings that would have made the eyes of the embarrassed French president, Jacques Chirac, swivel. Samaranch's working expenses have never been publicly itemised, but would $50,000 have covered the yearly tab? Perhaps back at the turn of the century. The nineteenth, that is.