Samaranch aims to stay

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The Independent Online
Olympic Games

Juan-Antonio Samaranch went closer yesterday to ensuring he remains president of the International Olympic Committee into the next century.

The executive board recommended a rule change at the IOC Session (equivalent to the AGM) which could keep IOC members in a job for life and ensure Samaranch a fourth term.

Members will vote from today on the following proposals: 1) no change to the rule forcing members to retire at 75; 2) no age limit; 3) make an exception to the present age limit of 75 for the president; 4) raise the age limit to 78. A two-thirds majority is needed for any change.

Francois Carrard, the IOC's director general, said they could not be concerned what the outside world would think of a move enabling Samaranch, who is 75 and has been president since 1980, to stay on after 1997, when he is due to stand down.

Dick Pound, an Executive Board member for Canada, considered a front- runner in any presidential election, said on Monday: "I think we would be laughing stocks if we removed the age limit."