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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 July, 2005, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
French media hit out at 2012 result
Jacques Chirac puts a brave face on defeat as he arrives at the G8 summit in Scotland
'Blair's prestige put an end to Madrid's hopes and sank Chirac', said Spain's ABC.
French newspapers criticised London's lobbying tactics after favourites Paris lost out in the contest to host the 2012 Olympics.

The surprise verdict even called into question the country's standing on the international stage, claimed some.

"Why London?" ran the headline in sports daily L'Equipe.

"The miraculous survivor London, led by the charismatic Sebastian Coe, knew how to work every tactic from aggressive marketing to pure rabble-rousing, promising a better a future to the underprivileged youth of the world.

"They overstepped the mark."

The popular Le Parisien said the Paris team had paid the price for trying to be irreproachable in its tactics.

"For two years London infringed the rules...but each time the IOC forgave the English," it said.

The paper even said there had been rumours circulating that Britain had employed its secret services in some way to help the bid - though it reassured readers there was no proof of this.

"It was a political choice", says France Soir calling the verdict a "shocking decision with no relationship to sport and even less to do with the actual details of the candidates' bids".

Liberation said there was a "Londres de choc", a play on words meaning "shock wave", which further questioned France's influence in the world.

"It is hard to be in the spotlight when you yourself doubt so much your role," read its editorial.

"We are losing our influence as (Tony) Blair, a lobbying wizard, is surfing on the free-market wave while using public funds."

Paris turned the Champs Elysees into an Olympic running track in a huge show of support a few weeks before the vote
Paris turned the Champs Elysees into an Olympic running track in a huge show of support a few weeks before the vote

Economics newspaper La Tribune said London's victory in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote strengthened Blair's leadership in Europe.

"In the voting process, the quality of the facilities, of the sports environment, are far less important than political skills," said Le Figaro.

Writer Yves Thréard went even further, saying the decision had dented France's international reputation.

"It is as if its prestige has faded. After the referendum of 29 May (to reject the EU constitution), the decision of the IOC is like a guillotine."

In the regional daily La République des Pyrénées, Jean-Marcel Bouguereau said: "You can't even count them any more, the defeats of Chirac".

"After three consecutive electoral routs, then that of the referendum, Singapore offers the ultimate humiliation in the form of the opening G8 dinner, whose host is Tony Blair".

"The other message of Singapore, it is that the world does not want to play with us any more," noted Gilles Sengès in Les Echoes.

In Spain, Blair was hailed by the media as the winner in his contest with French president Jacques Chirac.

"Blair secures a political victory against his great rival," El Pais said.

"Blair's prestige put an end to Madrid's hopes and sank Chirac," said ABC.

"Blair wins the Games," said Barcelona's La Vanguardia.

The newspapers said Madrid's chances were hit by IOC members who had backed New York, failing to support Madrid when the American city went out in the second round.

And they said the Madrid vote switched to London when the Spanish capital was eliminated in the third round.

London won the final vote at Wednesday's IOC session in Singapore by 54 votes to 50.


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