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  • IOC Opens India Inquiry; LOCOG Probes Chinese Sweatshop Claims


    IOC Inquires About Former Indian NOC Chief

    The IOC tells Around the Rings its Ethics Commission is seeking information about Suresh Kalmadi.
    Suresh Kalmadi at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony. (Getty Images)

    “The IOC sent a letter to the IOA asking for a full and official report on the exact current situation of Mr Kalmadi before the courts of justice” an IOC spokesperson tells ATR.

    Kalmadi, former head of the Indian Olympic Association and the scandal-marred 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, is facing corruption allegations related to the event.

    “The IOC asked the IOA to ensure the respect of the principles and rules of the IOC Code of Ethics and to preserve the reputation of the Olympic Movement in India. The IOC also indicated that it will prepare a report for its next Executive Board meeting based on the answers that the IOA provides.”

    It's unclear what action the IOC could take against Kalmadi, who is no longer part of the IOA.

    Indian media quote a statement from “IOA office bearers” who called the Commission activities “illegal” and “far from truth and facts.”

    Kalmadi was reportedly granted bail on Jan. 19. Kalmadi announced he will step down as IOA president but has not officially done so. Vijay Khumar Malhotra is the acting president.

    LOCOG Probes Chinese Sweatshop Claims

    London 2012 organizers say they have launched an investigation into claims that toy versions of the official Olympics mascots are being made in sweatshop conditions in a Chinese factory.
    Toy versions of Wenlock and Mandeville are shown off by British 400m Olympian Roger Black at the launch of Golden Bear's 2012 range last January in London. (Getty Images)

    English company Golden Bear, which is licensed to produce cuddly toys based on Games mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, is accused of exploiting Chinese workers. Reports claimed the factory offers poor conditions for workers with some paid only 41 cents an hour.

    "We place a high priority on environmental, social and ethical issues when securing goods and services and take these allegations extremely seriously," a LOCOG spokesman said.

    "As soon as we were made aware of these allegations, we asked our independent monitor to carry out a comprehensive investigation and review. The outcome of this investigation will be made public as soon as it is concluded."

    He added: "We have contacted all of our licensees to reiterate to them the importance we place on the sustainable sourcing code they have each signed up to."

    Golden Bear said it was "extremely concerned" and was also investigating the claims, adding that the Chinese factory had passed inspections by the International Council of Toy Industries.

    BOA Gets Ready to Consider 2018 YOG

    The British Olympic Association tells Around the Rings it has already been contacted by a number of cities interested in bidding for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

    The BOA deadline for expressions of interest is next Monday.

    Glasgow, host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is thought to be a strong contender among the group of U.K. cities, which will be named by the BOA next week.

    The BOA last month invited applications from cities in the U.K. to put themselves forward as potential candidate cities. It said the key elements to any submission were the foundations of a strong technical project as well as a clear vision, which should align with the city's own priorities and plans for sport, the community and youth as well as the Olympic Movement's priorities.

    The BOA will decide by the end of February whether to go ahead with a 2018 YOG bid from one of the candidate cities.

    The IOC is scheduled to produce a shortlist of candidate cities next January before announcing the winning host city in summer 2013.

    The 2018 YOG will involve 3,600 young athletes ages 14-18 competing across all 28 summer Olympic sports for 12 days.

    Blatter: Hoeness Hurt Munich 2018

    FIFA president Sepp Blatter says Bayern Munich legend Uli Hoeness hurt Munich 2018’s prospects of victory.
    Uli Hoeness is president of Bayern Munich F.C. (ATR)

    Blatter made the comments Monday, saying African IOC members may have acted out of retribution for Hoeness’ comments before the 2010 World Cup, the first in Africa.

    "In the run-up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Uli Hoeness and company were running the event down, it was difficult to top that," Reuters quoted Blatter as telling German football magazine Kicker.

    Blatter recalled fellow IOC member and FIFA exec Issa Hayatou telling Munich ambassador Franz Beckenbauer: “'You should not count on any African vote. We have not forgotten the way you tried to destroy the World Cup'

    "'And this is what happened. Without the 12 African votes there is no way you can win Olympic Games.'"

    Pubs, Restaurants Play Key Olympics Role

    London pubs and restaurants are gearing up for the 2012 Olympics.
    London pubs were warned not to run out of beer for the Olympics. (Getty Images)

    On Monday, the British Beer & Pub Association hosted a seminar to identify and prepare for challenges during the Games, particularly transportation and logistics issues.

    “We must work together to overcome the inevitable difficulties, and maximize the potential for increased trade, ensuring that all of our customers receive the high level of service they expect from our pubs,” said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds.

    “It is hugely important that pubs do not run dry and beer can be properly distributed despite road closures for Olympic lanes and local roads.”

    London mayor Boris Johnson underscored the important role of pubs and restaurants during the London Olympics.

    "London is gearing up for one of the most amazing summers this city has ever seen,” said Johnson. “The capital’s pubs and restaurants have a huge part to play in making sure the millions of visitors and Londoners heading out to enjoy themselves have a fantastic time throughout the Games.”

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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