Olympics: Swiss outraged by IOC `snub'

Alan Hubbard finds the Winter Games of 2006 are already under a Turin cloud

SWITZERLAND, long-time hosts and friendly tax haven to the Olympic movement, is a stunned and angry nation after its small-town candidate, Sion, lost out to their big-city rivals from across the Alps, Turin, in the vote for the 2006 Winter Games.

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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Caretaker / Storeman

£15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Sales - SaaS B2B

£60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years