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Olympic Games: No sanctions on Salt Lake City

THE International Olympic Committee has ruled out imposing any sanctions against Salt Lake City officials in connection with the Olympic Games' biggest corruption scandal, an IOC investigator said yesterday.

"The commission will not recommend any action against Salt Lake City," said Jacques Rogge, a member of the IOC panel investigating allegations of bribery in the city's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games. "There is no action to be taken."

Rogge, meanwhile, confirmed that up to 12 IOC members have been implicated in the inquiry but rejected calls for the IOC president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, to resign as "ridiculous". He also said the IOC was prepared to investigate charges of corruption in other host city election campaigns, including claims that Sydney officials were approached for bribes during their successful bid for the 2000 Summer Games.

Rogge, a Belgian member of the IOC's executive board, said the six-man investigative panel had considered sanctions against Salt Lake officials connected with the 2002 bid. However, he said the possibility was ruled out after the Salt Lake organising committee's leading two officials, president Frank Joklik and vice president Dave Johnson, resigned last week. "The people who were in the bid are no more," Rogge said. "They took the actions they thought were needed."

The head of the bid committee, Tom Welch, is also no longer associated with the Games. He resigned as president of the organising committee last year after being charged in a separate, private matter.

"The only action we could have discussed was against the people in the bid committee who were still on the organising committee," Rogge said. "As they have resigned, there is definitely no need for action. This does not imply any judgement on their behaviour at this stage."

Rogge said he understood that "around a dozen" IOC members had been implicated in the Salt Lake investigation. Letters were sent to those members this week demanding an explanation.

The IOC panel meets on 23 January in Lausanne, Switzerland, to conclude its findings, and will make recommendations to the full executive board the following day.

Samaranch has said that any members found guilty of corruption will be removed.