NEWS

Fears grow over Athens 2004 delays

The Athens 2004 committee has been coming under increasing pressure from the International Olympic Committee in recent weeks either in the form of non-papers or letters expressing concern that efforts to organize the Games are flagging. This impression has been created not only by the reports filed by the Athens 2004 organizers but also by the IOC’s own sources in Athens, which say that many issues have been languishing because of last month’s ruling party congress and subsequent Cabinet reshuffle. The doubts growing in Lausanne have caused great concern to Athens 2004 and its president, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki is said to not be ruling out the possibility of handing in her resignation. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who headed the committee which won Athens the bid to host the Games, was appointed to lead Athens 2004 in 1999 after then IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch expressed alarm at delays in preparations. The next IOC inspection is due on November 21. An IOC source said that Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, in a conversation with senior IOC officials, did not rule out her resignation. The same source said that the next two months should be crucial. The possibility of Angelopoulos-Daskalaki resigning is based on two premises: The possibility of Greece being seen as unable to move quickly enough and the bad publicity that the organization might get abroad, which will translate into bad publicity for Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. The Athens 2004 president has said officially that efforts by the government and the organizing committee have to be sped up.