The Tokyo Olympic Committee has denied a report it paid sponsorship money to buy the support of former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack for its bid to host the 2020 Games, local media reported Saturday.
A report by the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) independent commission said several million dollars were paid by Japan to the IAAF that may have swayed Diack, then a member of the International Olympic Committee, to favour Tokyo's bid, Kyodo News agency reported.
In 2013, Tokyo defeated Istanbul and Madrid in the bidding to secure the 2020 Olympics.
"We fought fairly, conforming to the rules. As far as the bid committee is concerned, we have no knowledge of any such payout," Japan Olympic committee president Tsunekazu Takeda said.
Japan Sports Agency commissioner Daichi Suzuki, then the director of the 2020 bid committee, said, "I don't have such knowledge (of the payment). We undertook a clean bidding campaign and that's how it played out."
A footnote to the WADA report describes references to the competition between Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo for the 2020 Games awarded to the Japanese capital, summarizing that Istanbul lost Diack's support because Turkey did not pay sponsorship money. He backed Tokyo after Japan did pay, Kyodo said, citing the report.
Olympic minister Toshiaki Endo told a news conference Friday the report was "hard to believe. I don't think that is true," Jiji Press reported.
"From the time I was involved in activities for hosting the Olympics, Tokyo had a good reputation as the city conducting the cleanest bidding campaign," Endo said, adding that he will decide whether to investigate the matter after hearing more details.
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