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Monday, January 25, 1999 Published at 19:25 GMT


Manchester 'may sue IOC'

Manchester put together a much-admired bid for the 2000 Games

Manchester could sue the International Olympic Committee for compensation following the corruption scandal, according to UK Culture Secretary Chris Smith.

BBC North of England correspondent Kevin Bocquet: "The people of Manchester feel angry and cheated"
He welcomed the expulsion of six IOC members, but insisted that the bidding for future games would have to be honest and above board if the UK is to take part again.

Manchester lost out in the bidding process for the 2000 Olympics to Sydney, centre of the latest bribery allegations, and Mr Smith said the issue of the city's organising committee seeking compensation had yet to be resolved.

"I don't think we really know the answer to that at the moment, because we'll need to know much more about what happened and did not happen in relation to the Sydney decision for the Olympics next year," he said.

[ image: Chris Smith: 'Manchester deserves answers']
Chris Smith: 'Manchester deserves answers'
"Also of course it will depend very much on whether Sydney itself makes a substantial profit out of the games. If it's indeed the case, and if it's proved there was some underhand means that went on in order to get that decision, then I think the question will be very much an open one."

UK Sports Minister Tony Banks backed his Secretary of State by calling for a wholesale clean-up of the process for choosing host cities.

Tony Banks: 'The process must be more fair, open and honest' (BBC News 24)
"To restore confidence in the Olympic movement it has to go back to the early Eighties," he said.

"If it is cleaned up, then perhaps we can proceed towards a freer, fairer Olympic selection process."

Refund 'won't be easy'

Swedish city Stockholm is also considering claiming a refund of the money its organising committee paid to the IOC in connection with its failed bid to host the 2004 Games.

But Bob Scott, who headed two unsuccesful bids by Manchester, admitted that the compensation process could be difficult to complete.

[ image: Bob Scott twice missed out in the bidding process]
Bob Scott twice missed out in the bidding process
"It is an absolute disgrace what is going on," he said, "but it won't be very easy to get the money back."

Mr Scott resisted the chance to join in the growing chorus calling for IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch to quit his post.

"We have a habit in this country of falling on our swords, but I don't think that is particularly appropriate here - I think he has to stay to sort it out," Mr Scott said.

"It is absolutely clear he did not know about the cover up. He has pleaded for people like me for evidence.

"Of course he has known about all these rumuours, but it wasn't until someone blew the whistle on the inside of the Salt Lake City set-up that these things have come out. It's the first time there has been evidence."

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25 Jan 99 | Europe
Olympic corruption probe widens

23 Jan 99 | UK
Compensation call for UK Olympic bid

23 Jan 99 | Sport
Sydney sucked into Olympics scandal

25 Jan 99 | Sport
Samaranch the survivor

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