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Monday, January 25, 1999 Published at 06:17 GMT

World: Europe

Olympics bidding shake-up

Juan Antonio Samaranch apologised for members' conduct

Six members of the International Olympic Committee face expulsion following an inquiry into allegations of corruption surrounding Salt Lake City's successful bid for the 2002 winter games.

The BBC's Neil Bennett: "There is certain to be more embarrassment for the Olympics"
Radical changes are also being proposed in the way cities are chosen to stage the summer and winter games.

IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said he was "profoundly saddened" at the conduct of the individuals concerned and apologised to followers of the games.

Juan Antonio Samaranch: "We are very sorry"
He said the members in question had violated their Olympic oath and "the trust that had been placed in them".

The six members will be temporarily suspended until March, when the recommendation for their expulsion is put before a special meeting of the IOC general assembly.

A seventh official implicated in the scandal announced on Sunday he is resigning from the IOC.

David Sikhulumi Sibandze, of Swaziland, is the third member of the IOC to have resigned because of the Salt Lake City investigation.

Salt Lake City is said to have hired his son as an intern while the bidding process was taking place.

A matter of honour

[ image: Salt Lake can continue its preparations to host the games]
Salt Lake can continue its preparations to host the games
Two other IOC members resigned ahead of the inquiry results being made public.

Both faced allegations that they received cash or services in return for helping Salt Lake City win the right to host the Winter Olympics in 2002.

The suspensions follow intensive discussions of a confidential report on the bribery allegations from a special commission led by IOC Vice-President Dick Pound.

Speaking at a news conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, Mr Samaranch said the others implicated in the scandal would be encouraged to follow suit and take what he called "the honourable path".

The IOC members recommended for expulsion are

  • Agustin Arroyo of Ecuador
  • Jean-Claude Ganga of Republic of Congo
  • Zein El Abdin Ahmed Abdel Gadir of Sudan
  • Lamine Keita of Mali
  • Charles Mukora of Kenya
  • Sergio Santander of Chile.

The Ecuadoran delegate, Agustin Arroyo, denied all allegations against him, while some of the others are said to be keen to defend themselves at the IOC General Assembly.

Mr Samaranch said the IOC would continue investigations into the conduct of another three members and would issue a warning to one more.

Major reforms

The president said there would also be major reforms in the bidding process for the hosting of future Olympic Games.

Under proposed procedures for selecting host cities

  • blanket visiting and voting rights of all of 115 members will be withdrawn
  • eight officials will choose the Olympic venue, along with several independent sporting experts.

The conference was told that the members were not being suspended for corruption or bribery but for breaking the Olympic oath and for bringing the Olympic movement into disrepute.

The scandal broke last December, when a senior IOC member, Marc Hodler, alleged that a number of countries were resorting to bribery in their bids to stage the Olympic Games.

The report into the Salt Lake City bid is being seen as the first stage in a battle to rescue the movement's battered image. It is almost certain to have wide-reaching consequences.

Cash and favours

Proof is said to have been uncovered that various forms of bribes were offered and accepted by IOC members. Some reports say prostitutes were even made available.

Salt Lake City in Utah is reported to have paid up to $800,000 in cash and favours.

Adam Mynott in Salt Lake City: "Organisers welcome the investigation"
As the scandal developed, it also emerged that one of the organisers of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games offered tens of thousands of dollars to IOC members the night before the vote on who would host the games.

A team of investigators is on its way to Sydney to probe those claims.

There have also been allegations of bribery in the decision to award the Japanese town of Nagano the winter games in 1998.

But despite what had happened Mr Samaranch said that the games in Salt Lake City and Sydney would go ahead as planned.

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