Oslo pullout highlights need for more IOC transparency

Thu Oct 9, 2014 10:08am EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Oslo's surprise withdrawal from the race to stage the 2022 Winter Olympics last week highlighted the need for more transparency in the bidding process, Norwegian Olympic Committee Secretary General Inge Andersen told Reuters on Thursday.

Oslo became the fourth city, after Stockholm, Lviv in Ukraine and Poland's Krakow to pull out, leaving just two candidates, Kazakhstan's Almaty and Beijing.

In a strongly-worded response after Oslo's withdrawal, the IOC lashed out at Norway, saying politicians were misinformed and "were left to take their decisions on the basis of half-truths and factual inaccuracies".

Days before the Norwegian government pulled the plug, local media were awash with details from IOC manuals and the host city contract, that fanned opposition to the Games.

These details included cocktail protocols, meeting with the country's king and stocked hotel bars. Even hotel room temperatures for IOC members and the quality of the smiles of the Olympic staff were outlined in the 7,000-page documents.

Local media quickly labeled them "contractual IOC demands" if the city won the right to host the Winter Olympics.

The IOC rejected the claims, saying these were merely suggestions or past practices at former Olympic host cities, but the damage was done.

"It is important that the IOC goes through these manuals, which for the first time were made public, to make them in a way a country in western Europe, Canada or the United States can understand them," Andersen said in an interview.   Continued...