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Friday, Aug. 27, 1999

IOC warns Osaka over bidding conduct

Staff writer

OSAKA -- The Osaka Municipal Government's plan to have sports organizations and private businesses host parties and tours of sports facilities for International Olympic Committee officials, expected to attend a conference in October, should be scrapped, an IOC official said Thursday.

"The new guidelines for cities bidding for the 2008 Games will be released in December. Osaka should refrain from entertaining IOC officials. That includes the use of private money to entertain or promote the bid," said Marlina Gueorguieva, an IOC spokeswoman in Lausanne, Switzerland, in a telephone interview with The Japan Times.

"Otherwise, other bid cities would be at a disadvantage," she said.

In mid-October, the Monaco-based General Association of International Sports Federations will hold its annual general assembly meeting in Osaka.

Headed by Kim Un Yong -- an IOC member nearly expelled for his role in the recent Salt Lake City Olympic bidding scandal -- the GAISF is comprised of the heads of about 90 sports federations worldwide.

It also includes 11 members of the IOC who have the power to select the 2008 host city. Osaka had offered to host the GAISF meeting with the explicit hope that it could show IOC visitors sports facilities on Maishima Island, where the city wants to hold the Games.

But in the wake of the Salt Lake City scandal, the IOC agreed to revise the guidelines for bidding cities. The IOC sent a letter to Osaka Olympic officials in early July, warning them not to conduct Olympic PR events during the GAISF meeting.

As a result, city officials said only domestic sports organizations and private businesses might invite IOC officials to sports facilities and host parties.

Christoph Kukawaka, a spokesman for the Paris Olympic 2008 bid committee, said all candidate cities should follow the directives of the IOC. Although he refused to comment on Osaka's plans, he did not rule out asking the IOC to investigate the matter.

"If we receive official information about Osaka promoting its bid before the IOC releases its rules in December, we may act on it," he said.

Osaka Olympic officials said Friday morning that the city intended to comply with the IOC directive. However, they added it was possible GAISF members might be invited to private functions.

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The Japan Times

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