Rogge acts over 'Panorama'

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The Independent Online

Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, moved yesterday to staunch the stench of of corruption on the eve of the Games.

After announcing the suspension of Bulgarian member Ivan Slavkov, who had claimed he could arrange for bribes to be paid to members to secure votes for the 2012 Olympics, Rogge showed he is not to be messed with. "You see before you an angry man," he said after a meeting of the IOC's executive board in Athens. "To say I am disappointed... I am more than disappointed."

Slavkov, who is also president of Bulgaria's football union, has been "provisionally suspended and deprived of all rights" following the BBC Panorama documentary which showed him discussing with journalists posing as an east London business consortium how to secure votes for the 2012 Games. The London bid team had no knowledge of this.

Four others, described in the programme as agents, were also condemned by the IOC and have had all accreditation withdrawn. "I am angry because the behaviour of some people is harming a beautiful movement," said Rogge. "This shows our resolve to have zero tolerance of corruption."

No mention was made of the IOC vice-president Vitaly Smirnov, the Russian who also featured in the programme, but claimed he reported overtures made to him to the IOC. Nor of the allegedly "inappropriate" letter sent to Smirnov by London bid chief executive Keith Mills suggesting a meeting in Moscow, which never took place. Mills claims this was not in breach of IOC regulations on ethics.

Meanwhile, the Irish distance runner, Cathal Lombard, faces being banned from the Games after testing positive for EPO.

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