July 11, 2005

Paris mayor accuses London of breaching rules

By Patrick Vignal

PARIS (Reuters) - London's winning bid to stage the 2012
Olympics breached the rules, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe said

Delanoe, president of the Paris bid, said London had not
respected the rule of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
stating that meetings between bid officials and IOC members
should be only informal.

"The IOC knows that (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair had
written to IOC members to offer to meet them," Delanoe told

Delanoe said that Blair had then met IOC members in his
hotel suite in Singapore before Wednesday's vote, in which
London scored a narrow victory over Paris.

"Everybody was aware of it and could see it," Delanoe said.

"That's against the rules. I saw people coming out of
Blair's suite."

French politicians, media and sports officials cried foul
after London snatched the vote, suggesting underhand tactics
may have played a part.

London won the final vote by 54 votes to 50.


Delanoe suggested Monday that London had also breached the
IOC rules by making comments on a rival bid.

"It is stated that a bid should not make comments on
another one," he said. "Out of the five bidding cities, which
one did not respect that?"

The Paris mayor was apparently referring to comments before
the vote by a member of the London team who said the Stade de
France in Paris was not built specifically for athletics.

"I don't want to make a big fuss but there's no reason why
I should remain silent," Delanoe said.

"There were certainly weaknesses in our bid but I don't
think any of those weaknesses played any role in the final

"There are things we maybe could have done differently but
I don't think it would have changed the result."

Delanoe denied having accused London of bribery.

"All I said was that if Paris had used bribery to win the
vote, we would have been reproached for it," he said.

Asked if Paris had been naive by refraining from active
lobbying in the final straight, Delanoe said: "We decided to
strictly abide by the rules and we don't regret that choice."

Delanoe suggested that the IOC rules left room for
interpretation by saying: "The IOC is a subtle organization."

The Paris mayor said the day of the vote had not been a
totally negative experience.

"As we couldn't get that victory we so badly wanted, I
decided to make that day a personal victory," he said.

"I stopped smoking."