Olympics: Swiss outraged by IOC `snub'
Alan Hubbard finds the Winter Games of 2006 are already under a Turin cloud
Sunday 20 June 1999
The Italians skated home by 53 votes to 36 in a secret ballot among International Olympic Committee members in Seoul. But the new "squeaky clean" process, drawn up to demonstrate that the IOC had tidied up their act after the Salt Lake City scandal, seems to have backfired, with the result leaving the Swiss outraged.
They believe they are the victims of a cynical backlash with some IOC members taking their revenge because it was the veteran Swiss representative Marc Hodler who first blew the whistle on the bribes for votes scam that has deprived them of perks.
Sion's pounds 9.5m bid was rated as the favourite by the IOC's own evaluation committee but their 100-strong delegation were left seething in Seoul over what they claimed was a blatant act of spite. "We were the best bid," said the delegation leader Jean-Loup Chappalet. "I cannot understand which deals have been struck for this. We must ask some questions of the IOC."
In Sion itself many sobbed openly and booed IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch when they saw the result on jumbo TV screens in the town centre. Others scrawled "IOC Mafia" and "scandal" on placards.
There was also suspicion about the role played by the powerful Giovanni Agnelli, head of the Turin-based Fiat, who was recently recruited by Samaranch to join the task force set up to reform the IOC. Only a week ago Agnelli was seen in Lausanne with the head of the Turin bid Evalina Christillin, despite an understanding that no representatives of the bidding cities should visit the Olympic home.
However, Craig Reedie, one of Britain's representatives on the IOC - the Princess Royal had to attend her brother's wedding - does not totally subscribe to the conspiracy theory. "It is too convenient simply to blame the Hodler factor," he said. "The majority of 17 was pretty clear and I simply don't believe it was a case of people being vindictive. When it comes to elections the Italians are extremely good at getting their vote out. Theirs was also the best presentation, relevant and done with style."
Four other candidates - Klagenfurt (Austria), Helsinki (Finland), Proprad- Tatry (Slovakia) and Zakopne (Poland) - had been eliminated earlier by a 15-strong secretly selected panel which included Jean-Claude Killy, Prince Albert of Monaco and the former Olympic sprint champion Valery Borzov, of the Ukraine. "What is clear is that this part of the election was certainly clean and worked beautifully," said Reedie. "They left the full IOC to choose between the two best candidates."
Turin project a pounds 22m surplus for the Games while Sion, who had made two previously unsuccessful attempts, say they will not bid again. They thought they had made it but it seems that, uncharacteristically, the Swiss timing was wrong.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Luke Shaw arrives a week early for Manchester United pre-season training after cutting short post-World Cup holiday
World Cup 2014: The 50 best players of the World Cup
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup 2014: A history of the third-place play-offs
Luis Suarez joins Barcelona: Liverpool and Barca confirm the striker has been sold in £75m, five-year transfer
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...