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Friday, January 22, 1999 Published at 19:07 GMT


Second IOC member quits

Juan Antonio Samaranch - awaiting inquiry results

Libya's International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Bashir Mohamed Attarabulsi has resigned. He is the second IOC official to go in the wake of the Salt Lake City corruption scandal.

BBC Sports correspondent Paul Newman: "The reputation of Salt Lake City has been overshadowed" (BBC Six O'Clock News)
The official decided to step down because his son had received college scolarships at schools in Utah paid for by the bid committee.

Earlier this week, one of Finland's representatives, Pirjo Haeggman resigned from the committee, despite protesting her innocence of any wrongdoing.

A report into the Salt Lake City scandal - due at the weekend is expected to reveal that bribery within the Olympic movement has been going on for decades.

Dick Pound: "We will not tolerateany improper misconduct" (BBC World Service)
The Wall Street Journal claims the confidential report says the US city spent more than £400,000 on gifts and payments during the bidding for and after winning the 2002 Winter Games.

The IOC will also meet at the weekend to decide what action to take against members linked with the Salt Lake City affair.

[ image: Dick Pound: His report will have a big impact on the IOC's future]
Dick Pound: His report will have a big impact on the IOC's future
The meeting is expected to recommend sweeping changes in bidding procedures, including a ban on visits to potential host cities.

The newspaper quotes the report, by top IOC official Dick Pound, as saying: "Inappropriate activities of certain members of the IOC did not commence with the candidacy of Salt Lake City."

It allegedly highlights the activities of two unofficial agents, one who offered to deliver votes for £1.3m and another promised nine European votes for £30,000 to £60,000 each.

Football's governing body, FIFA, has promised that strict rules will be followed as it considers which country should host the 2006 World Cup finals.

President Sepp Blatter said, however, that the smaller size of their executive made made it more difficult for people to try and influence their decisions.

He said: "Twenty one members is really a group of people that are easier to supervise than a group of 114."

British call for action

The chief executive of the British Olympic Association believes Salt Lake City should not be allowed to stage the 2002 Winter Games.

Simon Clegg: "It is too late now to change the venue from Salt Lake City" (BBC Radio 5 Live)
But Simon Clegg acknowledges there is not enough time left for the International Olympic Committee to find a new host.

His comments followed further damaging revelations about the bidding process which resulted in the US city being awarded the event by the IOC.

[ image: BOC chief Simon Clegg is calling for a complete overhaul of the bidding system]
BOC chief Simon Clegg is calling for a complete overhaul of the bidding system
Sydney Fennbach, a member of the Salt Lake City bid team, has alleges that a suitcase containing $5,000 (£3,000) was used to provide hospitality for members of the IOC.

"When an IOC member came to town there was an incredible effort to wine, dine and impress," said Fennbach.

The scandal has already seen the resignation of Pirjo Haggman of Finland and another 12 IOC members are set to be implicated in a report due to be published at the weekend.

The British Olympic Association has called for a complete overhaul of the IOC.

Clegg said: "The IOC is considering a number of different options. We have put our own thoughts forward and we think there should be a complete reform of the bidding process.

"It would reduce costs, simplify the system and eradicate any misuse of the power of IOC members."

He said guidelines given to cities had clearly been broken and some IOC members had "acted improperly".

Clegg added: "In a perfect world, Salt Lake City wouldn't be allowed to host the 2002 Games but the practicalities of the situation mean that finding an alternative at such short notice would be almost impossible."

Ken Bulloch of the Salt Lake City bidding team agrees that it is time to revise the terms and conditions which were negotiated during the battle to host the Games.

"It is one thing to welcome people into your homes, city and state. It is another to bend over backwards to give them anything their hearts desire and which their rules prevent them from taking," said Bulloch.

"What we need to do is determine how we can put the Olympic movement back on track."

Sports Minister Tony Banks: "The IOC needs to clean up its act"
The UK's sports minister, Tony Banks told the BBC that he was reassured by the recent resignations and added that he expected more "heads to roll" at the IOC.

Mr Banks thought that the IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch had "no reason to resign" and thought that the Mr Samaranch would want to clean up the reputation of the Olympic movement.

"There have been no allegations against Mr Saramanch and I expect him to put the IOC's house in order."

Mr Banks has already said the Government will not support any new bid by a British city to host the Games until the selection process is reformed.

"It is very easy to slip into a mood of pessimism," said Mr Banks.

"There is a demand around the world for action: reforms will undoubtedly follow."

¦The minister also defended the level of hospitality shown to football's ruling body FIFA in the campaign to bring soccer's World Cup to England in 2006.

"If you are asking someone to look at a city, if you are putting forward a case, it is perfectly proper for you to offer them appropriate entertainment."

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