Paris mayor accuses Blair and Coe of foul play

11th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 11 (AFP) - Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, still to come to terms with last week's stunning defeat to London for the right to stage the 2012 Olympics, has accused British Premier Tony Blair and London bid leader Sebastian Coe of breaking the rules.

PARIS, July 11 (AFP) - Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, still to come to terms with last week's stunning defeat to London for the right to stage the 2012 Olympics, has accused British Premier Tony Blair and London bid leader Sebastian Coe of breaking the rules.

"I don't say they flirted (with the yellow line), they crossed right over," he told his first Paris council meeting on Monday since the Singapore International Olympic Committee (IOC) session gave the Games to London.

"Victory was decided on something other than Olympism. We had a choice to make, especially as concerns corruption. I accept responsibility for the choice. We didn't lose on our bid, our respect for the Olympic rules or ethics."

However, city hall opposition leader Claude Goasguen branded him a bad loser.

"When you accuse somebody you have to prove it. Either London cheated, and you have to come up with a case to remove any doubts. Or London did not cheat and you have to accept defeat," he said.

"I expected the mayor to be able to avoid this type of malicious accusation directed at a city hit by war and which has proved to the world it has lost none of its courage."

Paris had been favourites throughout the Olympic campaign but London's hopes were raised after two days of lobbying by Blair in Singapore and an impressive presentation by Coe to the IOC members.

A spokesman for the British Prime Minister said Monday that London's winning bid to host the 2012 Olympics was "fair," rejecting charges from Delanoe that they had broken the rules.

"We have no comment other than to point to what Mr. Rogge said, that it was a fair bid," Blair's official spokesman told AFP, referring to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge.

IOC communications director Giselle Davies noted Rogge's comments during Saturday's closing presser in Singapore, when he said all the cities had conducted their campaigns according to the rules -- even though he had once or twice had to remind them to be careful.

"All the cities showed true Olympic spirit during the process. The IOC is sure that the Olympic spirit which was prevalent during the bidding process will continue," she said.

"It's always tough to lose," Davies added.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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