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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003, 17:37 GMT
Rogge praises 2012 contenders
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge addresses a news conference in Madrid
Rogge visited Madrid this week
The quality of cities bidding for the 2012 Olympics is such that none may be eliminated before 2005, according to Olympics chief Jacques Rogge.

"We have nine very prestigious cities and there is the possibility that we will not eliminate any," he said.

London is competing with Paris, New York, Madrid, Leipzig, Havana, Istanbul, Moscow, and Rio de Janeiro.

The cities will present their cases by 15 January, with a shortlist selected by 18 May and a winner picked in 2005.

"The elimination of cities is not an artificial reduction but a means of weeding out ones which are not ready to organise the games," Rogge said.

The International Olympic Commitee president also insisted that Madrid's bid would be enhanced, rather than handicapped, by Barcelona hosting the Games in 1992.

The Spanish capital is among the front-runners to host the event, along with New York, London and Paris.

"The success of Barcelona is a definite plus point in favour of Madrid because we know that Spain is capable of organising a successful Olympics," Rogge added.

Madrid is in a strong position
IOC president Jacques Rogge
Madrid is basing its campaign around the fact that it is one of the few major European cities yet to stage the Games.

Rogge is in the city to inspect its plans, and is impressed with what he has seen so far.

"The transport plan is very interesting, as is the infrastructure that is already in place," he added. "It is a compact and well-prepared project."

All the contenders must submit a detailed questionnaire on their plans to the IOC by 15 January, and will find out in May if they have been accepted for the final voting phase.

"The selection process is going to be very tough," Rogge reiterated.

"All the potential candidates are of the highest quality, but Madrid is in a strong position."

The IOC will make its final decision for 2012 at its session in Singapore in July 2005.

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