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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 20:28 GMT

IOC promises judging reform

By BBC Sport Online's Alex Gubbay in Salt Lake City

International Olympic Committee Director General Francois Carrard has admitted there must be "reform in judging across many sports".

Responding to Russian president Vladimir Putin's allegations that his nation's athletes have been unfairly judged in Salt Lake City, Carrard conceded there was definitely "room for improvement".

"The system of judging must be looked at sport by sport, case by case," he told the BBC.

"The individual sports federations are very aware of how serious this is."

But Carrard rejected Russian claims of American bias, and excessive commercialisation at the Games.

"The Russian delegation are frustrated because they are carrying the hopes, emotions and ambitions of their people.

"I can understand that, but let me assure them nobody is targeting their wonderful athletes or any other country here."

"In some ways, commercialisation is a form of democratisation, in that it helps widen the appeal of sport.

"Obviously, we have to make sure that doesn't prevail, but I actually think commercialisation has been well constrained here."

With regard to the rift between Putin and the IOC, Carrard added: "Mr Putin has done a lot for the Olympic movement, and I'm confident that good relationship will continue.

"But with all respect, his judgement has been made on reports he is getting, and these things are often better assessed from closer to the event."

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