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IOC clears London group of bid corruption
Updated: 2004-08-13 06:16

Fears that London's bid to win the 2012 Olympics are severely damaged by the BBC Panorama programme's investigative foray into IOC corruption are beginning to fade.

Nearly 50 members of the International Olympic Committee attended a special showing of the programme during the 116th Session on Monday. Although most admitted being stunned by the show, many agreed it was clear the London 2012 bid was not involved.

London's bid leaders have been furiously trying to distance themselves from the Panorama expose in which undercover reporters claimed they were representing London business leaders and wanted help to buy votes so London would win the right to host the 2012 Summer Games.

Four other cities are in the battle for sport's most glittering prize - Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow.

Austin Sealy, IOC member for Barbados, said he had no doubts that the members who saw the programme could see London 2012 was not involved in any misbehaviour.

"There were enough disclaimers. The members are more sensible than that," he said.

Veteran IOC member Walter Troger agreed.

"All my colleagues will realize this programme had nothing to do with London," he said.

"This is good in a way for the IOC for cleaning up," he added.

Several members admitted they had been shocked by the hour-long programme which captured Bulgarian IOC member Ivan Slavkov with a hidden camera claiming that he was ready to help London win the Games.

Last week the IOC's executive board suspended Slavkov while the ethics commission carries out an investigation.

Four 'agents', including the director general of the Olympic Council of Asia, Muttaleb Ahmad, told the reporters that they could buy votes of IOC members to help London win.

"It's very disappointing to see something like that. It kind of made me sick," said Don Porter, president of the International Softball Federation.

Tunisian IOC member Mohamed Mzali said his English was not good enough to follow the commentary in the programme but it had still left him feeling ill.

IOC director general Urs Lacotte also attended the special showing.

"The IOC and the decisions (to be taken) are quite clear," he said.

London 2012 had delivered a statement to all the members who were at the showing, underlining that they had played no part in the making of the programme.

"The programme was produced without the knowledge of London 2012 and we are angry and disappointed that Panorama chose London in such a misleading way," said the statement.

London bid chief Seb Coe arrived in the Greek capital several hours before the showing, ready to reply to questions about the show.

Coe, the two-time Olympic 1,500m gold medallist, said he was pleased the IOC members had been able to see it and was convinced they would understand London 2012 was not involved.

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