Rogge Plays Down London Gaffe over Paris Criticism as He Insists That 'Nobody Crossed the Yellow Line'

The Evening Standard (London, England), July 4, 2005 | Go to article overview

Rogge Plays Down London Gaffe over Paris Criticism as He Insists That 'Nobody Crossed the Yellow Line'


Byline: ADRIAN WARNER

PARIS backed away from a public showdown with London today as the race for the 2012 Olympics heated up in Singapore.

The French decided against putting in an official complaint to the International Olympic Committee after facing criticism from London 2012 officials over their main stadium, the Stade de France.

Bidding cities are strictly banned from taking a swipe at rival bids. London could have faced an embarrassing investigation from the IOC's ethics commission if Paris had protested.

But IOC president Jacques Rogge (left) moved immediately to play down fears that London had broken any rules when he said: "Had anyone gone over the yellow line I would have intervened. The fact that I said nothing is a sign that nobody has gone over the line. We have had no complaints from any city in Singapore. If there has been criticism of the Stade de France, well, the IOC evaluation commission gave it a very favourable report."

The criticism came just 48 hours before the vote but the favourites clearly took the view that it was not worth highlighting the fact that the Stade de France did struggle with some restricted viewing positions at the 2003 World Athletics Championships.

Seb Coe and his 2012 team are well aware that they must not get involved in public rows with the four other bidding cities.

But at a press conference attended by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and Mayor Ken Livingstone, bid consultant Jim Sloman caused a stir when he said the Stade de France, which was built for the 1998 football World Cup, had problems staging athletics.

His views were repeated by architect Rod Sheard, who designed London's proposed stadium at Stratford.

Sloman, the chief operating officer of the 2000 Sydney Games who is a paid consultant for London, said he did not think it was huge advantage for a bidding city to have an Olympic stadium already in place. …

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