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OLYMPIC GAMES: Sydney's appeal to Coles

THE SYDNEY Olympic organisers yesterday urged the embattled Phil Coles to cut his last ties with the 2000 Games in an effort to sever links with the damaging corruption scandal.

Reacting to news that the International Olympic Committee was going to investigate Coles for the third time, the Games chief executive, Sandy Holloway, said he had asked Coles to quit the board of the Sydney organising body.

But Coles, accused of supplying secret Sydney bid documents to the now- discredited Salt Lake City bid committee, denied any wrongdoing and said officials including the Sydney Organising Committee president, Michael Knight, were waging a campaign against him. "Michael Knight should stop this persecution and give me a fair go," Coles said.

Coles, a 67-year-old former kayaker who represented his country at three Olympics, has been hit by allegations of wrongdoing since being named in a Salt Lake City ethics report in February. He was reprimanded for taking free holidays in the Utah capital and has also been investigated over an allegation - which he denies - that his wife accepted jewellery from the Athens team which bid unsuccessfully for the 1996 Games.

Coles also denies giving documents to the Salt Lake team, although he said he had given them advice after Sydney had won the vote.