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The BBC's Paul Wood in Athens
"In a damning report, the IOC identified serious problems"
 real 28k

Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Greek Olympic plans under scrutiny
Olympic plans
Can Greece rekindle its Olympic plans?
Senior Olympics officials are in Athens to see if Greece is on target to host the 2004 Games.

In April the International Olympic Committee (IOC) identified a series of problems and set a 100-day deadline for the country to put things right.

We gave them 100 days. It's expired and we're going to come back and assess the situation

Jack Rogge, IOC
Jack Rogge, who heads the IOC's coordinating commission, told the BBC he had been encouraged by recent progress, and said there was no longer any possibility that Athens would lose the Games.

The main criticisms have concerned accommodation, the construction of venues, security, and traffic arrangements.

"We are optimistic that with our work during this time... things should go well with the IOC's examination," government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris said.

The IOC team will present its verdict on Friday after a series of meetings with eight working groups.

"We gave them 100 days. It's expired and we're going to come back and assess the situation," said Mr Rogge.

Work to be done

Prime Minister Costas Simitis has taken personal charge of the preparations, after two years of personal feuds and government indifference had left the project at a standstill.

Gianna Angelopoulos
Angelopoulos: Imposed media blackout prior to visit
He dismissed the entire organising committee, and called on Gianna Angelopoulos, who won the 2004 bid for Athens and is popular with IOC members.

Ms Angelopoulos brought her own team on board, and has imposed a media blackout on the work of the Athens organising commitee (Athoc) until after Mr Rogge's visit.

Although progress has been made, there is still much work to be done by Athoc before the city is ready.

Memoranda of cooperation between Athoc and government ministries were hastily signed ahead of Mr Rogge's visit.

The construction of an Olympic village is continuing, and broadcasting rights are expected to be put up for tender by the end of the year.

Athoc has also broken a deadlock with local hoteliers and signed accomodation contracts for the Games.

However, the public works ministry is only scheduled to finish the five major Olympic venues by May 2004, less than three months before the Games are due to begin.

The ministry is also reported to be reducing the size of the Olympic village, which could cause problems in a city notoriously short of housing.

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Athens Olympics in jeopardy
28 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
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