London escapes IOC sanction after bid leaders withdraw incentives

The International Olympic Committee watchdogs yesterday confirmed that they will not take any action against London after bid leaders withdrew three incentives packages announced as part of their campaign to host the 2012 Games.

The International Olympic Committee watchdogs yesterday confirmed that they will not take any action against London after bid leaders withdrew three incentives packages announced as part of their campaign to host the 2012 Games.

The IOC's ethics commission will, however, write to all five cities competing to host the 2012 Olympics to remind them of bidding rules. The IOC's communications director, Giselle Davies, said: "This issue is now officially closed. Because London have now withdrawn the charters, it no longer is part of the ethics commission's work."

The head of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, is coming under pressure over a vote to decide which of the 28 sports to drop for the 2012 Games. Rogge wants to include new sports such as rugby sevens, squash and karate without expanding the Games, and the heads of the 28 existing sports' federations have called an emergency meeting.

A petition opposing plans to put the inclusion of each sport to a free vote at the IOC meeting in Singapore in July - the same session where the host city for the 2012 Olympics will be decided - is understood to have been signed by 12 of them. "There are going to be 28 separate votes, one after the other," an unnamed but high-ranking official of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, said. "Will the IOC members really be able to, or be prepared to, concentrate fully on each vote? I'm not so sure."

The rebellion, led by the sport under most threat, modern pentathlon, but backed by 12 other more established sports including cycling, hockey and gymnastics, is the biggest to be faced by an IOC president in years. One of Rogge's closest allies, Hein Verbruggen, who is in charge of co-ordinating the 2008 Olympics and is the head of the International Cycling Union, has signed the petition.

The financial survival of many of the sports depends on being part of the Olympic programme.

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