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IOC warns against Olympic venue delays
Updated: 2004-10-28 09:11

Beijing should not wait too long to complete venues for the 2008 Olympics, a top official from the International Olympic Committee said in Beijing Wednesday.

A meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 games is held in Beijing October 28, 2004. [beiing-2008.org]
"Venues are key to the success of the Games," Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Olympic Games executive director, told a press conference.

Felli is in Beijing to attend a meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 games.

Beijing organizers halted construction work on several Olympic venues in August amid a nationwide drive to cut down "white elephant" projects to prevent the economy from overheating.

Beijing is also considering canceling a retractable roof for the planned 80,000-seat Olympic main stadium to reduce costs.

"We are not concerned about the money that people want to spend on the venue. What we are concerned is the quality of the venue," said Felli.

A painting shows the National Stadium nicknamed "Bird Nest." [newsphoto file]
In August, the IOC advised Beijing to slow down its preparatory work, especially venue construction, in a bid to ease the financial burden on the host city.

But Felli insisted venues should be ready "early enough" so that test events could be held a year before the Games.

"It's very important that we can test them," he said.

The three-day IOC Coordination Commission meeting, which opened Wednesday, will be followed this weekend by a high-profile visit from IOC President Jacques Rogge.

Beijing will also host an official transfer of knowledge meeting between Athens organizers and their Beijing counterparts.

"You have to start your preparation early enough," said Felli.

"When you have to organize a competition like the Olympic Games, it's very complicated, the operational aspect of it. That's the message we would like to give the organizing committee here in Beijing," he added.

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