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Monday, March 1, 1999 Published at 20:25 GMT


Sport

Olympics must ban 'gift-giving'

Salt Lake officials paid more than $1m

The International Olympic Committee should undergo a thorough reform "at all levels", following the corruption scandal over the way the 2002 Winter Games were awarded to Salt Lake City.

The changes are called for in the report of an inquiry by the United States Olympic Committee into the million dollar corruption scandal.

The inquiry blamed a "culture of gift-giving", which encourages cities wanting to host the games to try to buy the votes of International Olympic Committee members.

An earlier investigation found that two top officials who led Salt Lake City's 2002 bid, paid more than $1m to 24 members of the IOC panel which chooses the venue.

Sweeping changes to restore credibility


[ image: Mr Mitchell: Urging a major overhaul]
Mr Mitchell: Urging a major overhaul
The inquiry report said sweeping changes were needed to restore the Olympics' credibility and to ensure a fair selection process in future.

"What the Salt Lake City people did was wrong. But they did not invent the culture [of gift giving]," said former Senator George Mitchell, who headed the inquiry.

"It was in existence and attributable in part to the closed processes and unaccountability at the international level."

The report said cities bidding for the games should not give Olympic officials anything of value. It also recommended reforms including more elections and audits, published financial records and a central fund to handle travel expenses.

Mr Mitchell added: "The competition should be rooted in the concept of fair play and should not be weighed in favour of the city that spends the most on IOC members.

"The selection process should be free of improper influences and should be made instead on the basis of which city can best stage the Olympic Games."

'Cities also to blame'

Five IOC members are due to be expelled and four have already quit in connection with the scandal.

Embattled Olympic chief Juan Antonio Samaranch has said certain candidate cities should take half the blame.

He said several bidding cities had adopted "very aggressive policies", but conceded that some IOC members "were not honest".





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