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Saturday, January 23, 1999 Published at 19:28 GMT


Olympic chiefs probe bribe scandal

Press are kept well back from the IOC headquarters

Senior International Olympic Committee officials have been questioning some of its 13 members who are accused of involvement in a major corruption scandal.

The meeting was held amid an unusually heavy security presence.

Claire Doole reports: "Tip of the iceberg"
The inquiry relates to the successful bid by Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics and a bribery scandal that is threatening to engulf the movement.

The IOC is adding final details on its report on the affair to be published on Sunday.

The awarding of the 2000 Olympics to Sydney has also been dragged into the affair. It may be the subject of a second corruption investigation.

Reform proposals

[ image: Salt Lake celebrates the success of its bid]
Salt Lake celebrates the success of its bid
Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates is said to have offered sports funding to two African IOC members on the eve of the meeting which chose Sydney as the venue of next year's games.

He has admitted arranging the funding - most of it on condition that Sydney won its bid for the 2000 games - but denied the donations amounted to bribery. He said it was the National Olympic Committees that benefited, not individuals.

Sydney won the Olympic Games in 2000 by a margin of just two votes above Beijing.

The BBC's correspondent in Lausanne, Claire Doole, says that the IOC - faced with a crisis spiralling out of control - is considering ways of reforming the bidding process for the winter and summer Olympics.

Options range from setting up a specialist board to evaluate Olympic bids, to banning IOC members from visiting potential host cities.


Up to seven members of the International Olympic Committee already face possible expulsion as a result of the inquiry into a cash-for-votes scandal surrounding Salt Lake City's bid.

[ image: 1998: Salt Lake's mayor takes the Olympic flag from Nagano, Japan]
1998: Salt Lake's mayor takes the Olympic flag from Nagano, Japan
A report by IOC Vice President Dick Pound alleges bribes and favours were accepted by IOC officials during the bidding process for the 2002 winter games.

It is reported that Salt Lake City's Olympic bid gave payments and gifts worth $800,000 to members in return for votes.

IOC executive board member Marc Hodler first made the corruption allegations in December.

He said there were cash-for-votes abuses during the bidding processes for the 1996 summer games won by Atlanta, the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the Salt Lake City's 2002 bid.

Two IOC members, former Finnish athlete Pirjo Haeggman and Libyan delegate Bashir Mohamed, have already resigned. There have also been calls for IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch to quit.

Among those calling for Mr Samaranch's resignation is Ken Bullock, a member of the Salt Lake City organising committee.

"The Olympic values and ideals have to supersede any individual, or any individual community," he said.

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