Five Cities to Make Olympic Presentations

Friday, December 3rd 2004, 8:49 am
By: News On 6

DUBROVNIK, Croatia (AP) _ IOC president Jacques Rogge said the five cities bidding for the 2012 Olympics accepted his advice and agreed to stop complaining about each other.

Rogge met Friday with bid leaders from New York, Paris, Madrid, London and Moscow and told them to refrain from dirty tactics.

``I made a plea for a strict respect of the rules,'' Rogge said. ``We have received far too many complaints about small issues that have no importance. I urged them to have a collaboration in the spirit of fair play.''

Rogge said he believed his ``fatherly advice'' had sunk in.

``I saw it in their eyes that they got the message by and far,'' he said.

Later Friday, the five cities were to make 10-minute presentations to the general assembly of European Olympic Committees. The cities submitted their bid documents to the IOC last month and are now free to launch international promotion campaigns.

The IOC will select the host city by secret ballot in Singapore on July 6. Paris is considered the front-runner.

Three cities flew in their mayors to promote the bids _ Michael Bloomberg of New York, Bertrand Delanoe of Paris and Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon of Madrid. Moscow sent its deputy mayor, Valery Shantsev. London Mayor Ken Livingstone will make a video message during the British capital's presentation.

This is the most star-studded lineup in Olympic bid history, and the atmosphere has been growing increasingly testy.

Last week, Madrid made a formal complaint to the IOC ethics commission about the use of French embassies to promote the Paris bid. Earlier, London criticized Madrid for using a soccer game between Spain and England to run bid advertisements. British Prime Minister Tony Blair was accused of lobbying Commonwealth leaders last year.

``We have got to worry about New York,'' Bloomberg said. ``We are not experts on anything other than New York.''

The bid rules have been tightened since the Salt Lake City bid scandal, which led to the expulsion or resignation of 10 members for receiving improper inducements.

IOC members are now barred from visiting bid cities, putting additional pressure on the candidate cities to find ways of getting their message across. Some officials have expressed frustration over the ambiguity of the rules, which prohibit cities from criticizing each other.

``Its a big competition, five huge cities, five huge teams,'' Paris bid leader Philippe Baudillon said. ``We are competing. It's up to the IOC to set the rules.''

The IOC's evaluation commission will visit Madrid on Feb. 3-6, London on Feb. 16-19, New York on Feb 21-24, Paris on March 9-12 and Moscow on March 14-17.

The panel will submit a report to the 100-plus IOC members a month before the vote.