IOC president Jacques Rogge denied London 2012 logo is 'racist'

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The Independent Online

IOC president Jacques Rogge is to tell Iran that the London 2012 Olympics logo is not racist.

The Iranian national Olympic committee claims the logo spells out the word 'Zion' and has complained to the IOC that it is racist.

The country has threatened to boycott the Games unless the logo is changed, but Rogge has dismissed the demand.

He told reporters however: "The IOC's response is quite clear. The logo of London means the London 2012 Olympics, nothing less and nothing more."

He added: "It can't be serious. We will quietly reply, saying the logo has nothing to do with racism or any political connotation.

"With the logo, with scissors and some glue you can do whatever you want."

Rogge was speaking after a meeting of sports leaders, politicians, police and betting operators in Lausanne, Switzerland, aimed at dealing with the problems of illegal betting and match-fixing in sport.

The IOC president claimed that illegal betting in sport generated 140billion US dollars a year across the globe and a task force is now to be set up to look into the issue.

Rogge added: "We have heard from Interpol that illegal betting is on the rise. We absolutely have to fight that. There is a sense of urgency and it's going to be an ongoing process.

"Sport is in danger. It is not about the Olympics, it's not about the Games, it's about sport in general."

Hugh Robertson, Britain's minister for sport and the Olympics, also attended the summit in Lausanne and he said a twin approach was needed.

Robertson told Press Association Sport: "The IOC is best-placed to exercise some control over the sports, and to ensure sporting bodies have risk assessment, the right rules, education and a set of penalties.

"The Governments also have a role in making sure there is the right legislation in place.

"The meeting was very useful indeed and a good step towards dealing with what is a very complex problem, and with the spread of the internet one that is likely to grow."

Robertson said he would not be negotiating with Iran over their London 2012 logo complaint but leaving the issue to the IOC.