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  • D-Day Arrives for FINA World Champs City


    FINA President Mustapha Larfaoui says he can't say whether Montreal has any hope of reclaiming the championships 
    (ATR) FINA President Mustapha Larfaoui tells Around the Rings that a decision on where to host the 2005 swimming world championships will come at a meeting Frankfurt, Germany this week. Whether thereâ??s any hope for a reprieve for Montreal is not clear.

    Speaking in Madrid where he just completed a four-day mission with the IOCâ??s 2012 evaluation commission, Larfaoui says the FINA Bureau will meet in Frankfurt on Feb. 10.

    Three cities: Athens, Berlin and Moscow are in the running to take over from Montreal which was dropped by FINA last month after coming up short in fund-raising.

    Last Sunday Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay met with Larfaoui in Paris, but the FINA chief says â??I cannot sayâ? whether there is a chance FINA could switch course.

    â??He told me they have the guarantees nowâ?, says Larfaoui about a new pledge from the municipal government to cover the $5 million shortfall in the event budget.

    Asked about a second meeting with Tremblay, Larfaoui did not indicate another was in the works.

    â??I have already met with himâ?, he says.

    Tremblayâ??s new pledge from the city came days after FINA stripped the championships, a move which followed warnings that the event was at risk if financing problems continued

    The swimming championships, which would have been a first in North America, are scheduled for July. All three substitute bidders must stick to the same dates. FINA had said it wanted to announce a new host by February 15. The FINA Bureau could move that up to this week, depending on the meeting in Frankfurt.

    All the Olympics news of the week in the February 11 issue of, for subscribers only.

    Coming this week: The Road to Torino, the latest Around the Rings Special Edition, marking one year to go to the 2006 Games.