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Saturday, January 9, 1999 Published at 07:10 GMT


Officials resign in Winter Games scandal

Frank Joklik (foreground) confirms he is resigning his post

The head of the organising committee for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City has quit after admitting payments were made to International Olympic Committee during the bidding process.

Committee president Frank Joklik will step down when a replacement is found.

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Senior vice-president Dave Johnson has also resigned and two other employees are on paid leave.

Joklik confirmed that investigators had discovered cash payments were made to IOC members, including one of more than $70,000, in lieu of support for the city's attempt to win the right to stage the Olympics.

He denied having any knowledge of the payments at the time and said: "The actions during the Olympic bidding process that besmirch our reputation break my heart."

[ image: Samaranch: Confident the 2002 Winter Games will still be a success]
Samaranch: Confident the 2002 Winter Games will still be a success
His decision followed talks between IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch and Utah's state governor Mike Leavitt.

The governor had earlier said: "We cannot avoid the fact that we've been injured. We will clean this wound."

Salt Lake City was nominated in 1995 after a 30-year campaign to win the right to stage the Games.

Four separate investigations are now under way into how the bidding was conducted, including one by the FBI and another headed by former US senator George Mitchell.

Joklik's predecessor, Tom Welch, who resigned in 1997, was in charge at the time and he will no longer be paid a $10,000 per month consulting fee.

"We must draw a sharp line to ensure SLOC can put on the Games successfully," said Joklik.

Samaranch has, meanwhile, promised to visit Salt Lake City in the spring.

He said: "The IOC wishes to reiterate that it has full confidence in the organisers of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and has no doubt as to their ability to ensure the total success of these Games.

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