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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK

Rogge rules out joint Olympic bid

Olympic president Jacques Rogge has ruled out any prospect of a joint bid between Manchester and London winning the right to host the 2012 Games.

But he did say the Commonwealth Games had gone a long way to restoring Britain's credibility in terms of hosting big sporting events.

Rogge insisted that the key element of the Olympics is to have "unity of place" so that all events are easily accessible to all spectators.

Although not suggesting the British Olympic Association (BOA) bid would need to come from its capital city, the Belgian questioned whether any other UK city could accommodate the Games.

"We want concentration of sport in one place"
IOC president Jacques Rogge

"If you look at previous Games, Barcelona and Sydney were not capital cities but they were big cities with a universal appeal," he said.

"What we need is capacity and a city has to have the necessary infrastructure that is big enough to accommodate all the spectators."

He added: "One of the successes of the Olympic Games is the unity of place, and for summer Games we want concentration of sport in one place.

"If the BOA wanted to make a bid, then I'm sure it would be strong. But the competition is very tough."

Rogge said that the presence of strong governmental input is crucial for any bid to impress the International Olympic Committee.

"Only governments can provide the security, immigration, transportation and everything else needed for the Games that the private sector cannot provide.

"The success of the Sydney Games was the partnership with the government."

A possible stumbling block for any BOA bid is the IOC wish to take the Games to Africa and South America - continents that have not yet staged the prestigious event.

"This country has always been able to put on big events"
Sport England's David Moffat

But Rogge revealed how he had been very impressed by Manchester's handling of the Commonwealth Games.

"They have been beneficial for Manchester as a city and also for the UK in terms of international reputation," Rogge said.

"I am also very pleased with the very intelligent policy applied in terms of after-use of the venues.

"The IOC is definitely very keen on to ensure we leave no white elephants after Olympic Games."

Football

Sport England chief executive David Moffat said the Manchester Games had proved the nation is well equiped to handle the world's biggest sporting event.

"Despite recent criticism, this country has always been able to put on big events," he said.

Manchester officials are still clinging to the hope that the city could host Olympic football if a London bid was to succeed.

A BOA spokesman said: "Sydney and Athens set the precedent that the Olympic football tournament is played in four cities around the country.

"If we do go ahead with a London bid, then Manchester, with a couple of world-class stadia, would be in the frame for the football tournament."


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