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1999: Olympic officials face bribery charges

Six members of the International Olympic Committee face expulsion following an inquiry into a corruption scandal which has deeply shaken the Olympic movement.

The six were identified at the end of an investigation by the IOC into allegations of corruption during the awarding of the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City, in Utah.

In all, the investigation named 13 IOC officials who were alleged to have taken cash or services in return for helping Salt Lake City win the right to host the Olympics.

Three have already resigned, and six have been suspended ahead of a formal decision by the IOC in March on whether or not to expel them.

Three more are facing further investigation, while another is likely to be reprimanded.

'Great harm' to Olympic ideal

The IOC President, Juan Antonio Samaranch, said he was "profoundly saddened" at the conduct of the individuals concerned.

"These members have done great harm to the Olympic ideal," he told a news conference.

The report also recommended radical changes in the way cities are chosen to stage the summer and winter games.

They include the setting up of a special committee of just eight elected IOC members to choose Olympic venues. The rest would be banned from official visits, or even entertaining guests from bidding cities.

University scholarships

The scandal broke last month, when a senior IOC member, Marc Hodler, alleged that a number of countries were resorting to bribery in their bids to stage the Olympic Games.

Salt Lake City is reported to have paid up to $800,000 in cash and favours.

They included direct payments to IOC officials, as well as funding medical expenses, internships and university scholarships for relatives.

It has also emerged that one of the organisers of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games offered tens of thousands of dollars to IOC members the night before the vote on who would host the Games, although it is believed the offers were not accepted.

Those claims are being investigated, as are allegations of bribery in the decision to award the Japanese town of Nagano the Winter Games in 1998.

In Context
One more IOC official resigned before the formal meeting in March. There, the IOC voted to uphold the recommendation to expel the remaining five.

The total spent by the Salt Lake Organising Committee (SLOC) in gifts to visiting IOC members was later revealed as over $1m.

Similar gift-giving well in excess of levels recommended by the IOC was later admitted by Nagano, Japan, which hosted the 1998 Winter Games.

Officials in Atlanta, site of the 1996 Games, also admitted some misconduct.

At a meeting in December 1999, the IOC voted to ban expenses-paid visits to cities bidding for the Olympics.

It stopped short of the recommendation to reduce drastically the number of members who could vote on where a Games is held.

Instead, it introduced a new elected system for choosing IOC delegates, and set up an ethics committee to watch specifically for signs of corruption.

Juan Antonio Samaranch retired after serving his full term, in 2001. He was succeeded by Jacques Rogge, of Belgium.


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