Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Manchester holds key to Olympics
The United Kingdom could host an Olympics as early as 2012 if the Commonwealth Games are a success, according to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge.
The move is a dramatic turnaround, after the 2005 World Athletics Championships were taken away from London because plans to build a suitable stadium in Picketts Lock fell through.
Rogge said he hoped that a new stadium would be built in London that could accommodate both football and track and field.
"We were disappointed to see the unravelling of the Picketts Lock issue because of the great tradition of sport in Britain," Rogge told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"And it is always sad when something that has been awarded to a country has to move elsewhere, especially when it a country with fine athletes and good administrators.
"But I think the necessary lessons have been taken from that and have rebounded well for the organisation of the Commonwealth Games."
Rogge added that Britain had responded well to the previous problems and that the Manchester Games could decide whether an Olympic bid from the UK is taken seriously.
"The country has a great reputation in sport and so any bid coming from the United Kingdom would be a very strong bid."
Rogge will get a chance to see at first hand how well Britain can stage a major event over the next fortnight.
"Definitely they are very important multi-sports games and they are the most important ones being held this year," he said.
"Definitely they are the meeting point of very fine athletes of a big number of sports-loving countries, so we rate them very highly."
The Commonwealth Games will take place while work continues apace in Athens ahead of the 2004 Olympics, but the IOC remain confident that everything will be in place in time.
"Athens is not entirely 100% on schedule," he admitted.
"It's a mixed bag in that in many aspects, they are ahead of schedule, in most aspects, they are on schedule and in some aspects, they are a little bit delayed.
"But overall, we're pleased by the progress and by the speed at which our great friends are working, and we believe that, if they can keep this speed for the next two years, we'll have absolutely superb Games."
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