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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power