Athens' 2004 Olympics in Danger

Published April 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT


International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Juan Antonio Samaranch launched a scathing report on the lack of preparations for the 2004 Olympics in Athens Thursday. He went on to warn the Games were in danger. 

"If there are not drastic changes by the end of the year we will enter the red phase," said Samaranch. 

"We are facing many problems," he added. 

Samaranch explained there were three possible phases during the preparation of a Games, green, where everything was going well, yellow, which meant problems and red - which meant danger. 

"We are coming to the end of the yellow," he warned. 

There has been private talk amongst IOC members that Greece could even be stripped of the 2004 Games and Seoul has already made it clear that it would be able to host them if needed in an emergency. 

IOC executive board member and head of the co-ordination commission Dr Jacques Rogge said he was concerned about the preparation to date. 

He said there needed to be major changes made to the Greek management team in charge of organizing the Games. 

"The Greeks themselves know there are problems," said Rogge. 

The four key problems he clarified are the structure of the organizing committee, building construction of the venues, accommodation and transport. 

"We need the government to lift the ban on hotel construction in Athens. We still need 25,000 rooms," said Rogge. 

"What we need is a bit more urgency. Our partners do not understand what the Games are," he added.  

Denis Oswald, president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) was also critical of the Greek organizing committee. 

"Sydney were two to three years ahead in their planning at this time. We have serious concerns," he said - (SEVERAL SOURCES). 



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