2016 Cities to Get New Chance to Pitch IOC Members
|IOC President Jacques Rogge spoke at the end of a two day meeting of the IOC Executive Board in Beijing. (ATR/A.Stavrinos)
Under current rules, the cities bidding for the Olympics get but one opportunity to present their bids to the full IOC, the same day the members vote for the host city. Before the reforms spurred by the Salt Lake City vote-buying scandal 10 years ago, members were free to visit bid cities, which often spent lavishly to host their IOC guests. Those visits are now banned and any other contact with the bid cities is now closely regulated by IOC rules.
But bid cities have clamored for more opportunities to present their bids to the members. Until now, the IOC has refused, anxious to avoid a return to the freewheeling practices of the past.
Rogge says the bidding process is undergoing fine tuning in terms of rules that are in place.
"What we will do is to offer to the candidate a better opportunity to meet with IOC members and explain their bid and their projects," Rogge says.
"So therefore we will organize a meeting in Laussanne a couple of months before the final decision, where the candidate cities will have the opportunity for a day or two, to explain to the (IOC) members how their bid is constituted.
"But that is the major difference with the previous route. The rest is a fine-tuning of regulations but I don’t think it will be interesting to dwell on that." No Change for Tibet Torch Relay
In other comments Rogge says there will be no change in plans for the Olympic torch relay when travels through Tibet in June.
"We have agreed to a route for the torch that goes through Tibet and this is a position that the International Olympic Committee has confirmed," said Rogge in response to the first query of the press conference.
"Are you concerned by the torch going to Lhasa which will almost certainly result in a blood bath?" is how the question from Italy’s ANSA news agency was posed. Rogge did not respond to the supposition that
|The media contingent covering the IOC Executive Board meeting was one of the largest ever. (ATR/A.Stavrinos)
the Lhasa leg might turn violent.
Most of the questions in the 45-minute press conference dealt with Tibet, human rights and other controversial issues involving China.
Rogge reaffirmed his strong belief that the IOC should stay out of politics and will not urge China to hold talks on Tibet, human rights and related political issues.
"This is the line that we do not have to cross," Rogge says.
"The IOC expressed its view to the prime minister concerning the preparation of the Olympic Games."
He says the issue of Tibet is “a political matter in which the IOC cannot enter” and a sovereign matter for China.
Rogge met this week with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, describing his talks as "very useful ... frank and open and candid" but he declined to provide further details.
"It was definitely a good meeting for the outcome of the preparation of the Olympic Games," he says.
Written by Anthony Stavrinos
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