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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 15:10 GMT
Paris risks IOC wrath
Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe
The International Olympic Committee is investigating comments made by Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe about London's 2012 Olympic bid.

Delanoe said Paris had the edge over London because his relationship with central government was stronger than London mayor Ken Livingstone's.

IOC regulations ban criticism of a rival city, and a bid can be thrown out if cities repeatedly break the rules.

Bid rivals London, Moscow and New York have already been warned by the IOC.

Delanoe, who is also president of the Paris bid committee, said the "French consensus" contrasted with London, where mayor Livingstone has just rejoined the Labour party after a three-year exile.

"It is stronger than that between the mayor of London and the British Prime Minister [Tony Blair]," he said.

This bid is close to my heart and has all my support
French president Jacques Chirac

The nine cities competing to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics must submit their bid dossiers to the IOC by 15 January.

Paris, London, New York and Madrid are seen as favourites from a list which also includes Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Leipzig, Istanbul and Havana.

London's campaign found itself lagging behind those of its rivals in the early stages due to the Government's delay in agreeing to back the bid.

And last month Prime Minister Tony Blair was accused of breaking IOC rules by lobbying Commonwealth leaders to support the bid.

French President Jacques Chirac said on Tuesday that Paris, which lost out to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, had his "total support".

"Paris, an intellectual capital, a cultural capital, an economic metropolis, also proves year after year that it is one of the world capitals of sport," said Chirac, a former mayor of Paris.

Chirac added that the success of the World Athletics Championships last August had proved Paris could stage the 2012 Games.

"It was a magnificent event, remarkably well-organised and praised by the whole of international sport," he said.

"It was strongly supported by the French public and, after the 1998 World Cup finals, proved once again that Paris, its surrounding area, and the entire sporting movement in France, working closely with the state, can organise and host a major sports event.

"This bid is close to my heart and has all my support."

Paris will officially present its 2012 bid at the Eiffel Tower on 16 January.

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