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Friday, 16 February, 2001, 12:44 GMT
Athens told to speed up
Greek officials unveil plans for the Olympic village
Greek officials unveil plans for the Olympic village
The chief inspector of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge told Athens to speed up construction as he gave his report on Greek preparations for the 2004 games.

"We have a mixed bag," Mr Rogge told reporters at the end of a two-day inspection visit to Athens.


There is no way we will move the games to another place but the quality of the games will be decided in the next six months

Jacques Rogge
Greek organisers announced a rush of timetables for construction projects just before the inspection visit but Mr Rogge was not impressed.

"I urged the prime minister to do everything in his power so that... deadlines are respected," he said.

"We want buildings to start coming out of the ground because without them we can't have the games."

Progress

Last year Greece had been in danger of losing the games because of bureaucratic delays and infighting but it was later decided the games would go ahead in Athens come what may.

"There is no way we will move the games to another place but the quality of the games will be decided in the next six months," said Mr Rogge on Friday.

Mr Rogge did have some positive words for the organisers.

He said he was satisfied by progress on issues such as television rights, volunteers, marketing, transport and sponsorship.

On Wednesday Greek organisers announced that a contract for the Olympic village would be signed by May.

Jacques Rogge
Mr Rogge pressed Prime Minister Simitis over Olympic progress
The village, which will house 17,000 Olympic athletes and officials, is due to be completed by January 2004.

They also set timetables for five other venues.

About 70% of the venues are already in place, but many require refurbishment.

Prime Minister Costas Simitis has urged government departments to speed up, but there are fears that Greece's notoriously dense bureaucracy is not up to the job.

Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos is taking a relaxed approach. He said on Monday that it was the Greek style to pull everything together at the last minute.

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See also:

17 Nov 00 | SOL
Athens gets green light
08 Nov 00 | Other Sports
Greece will be 'ready' for Olympics
19 Nov 00 | Other Sports
Greek Olympics chief fired
25 Aug 00 | Europe
Greece faces Olympic race
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