Athens could host great 2005 games

Athens will be in a position to host flawless Olympics in 2005, and must get a move on with its preparations as the Games are scheduled for 2004, a top International Olympic Committee official warned yesterday. «If Athens had another year at its disposal for its preparations, then I could say with certainty that you would host wonderful Games,» Dennis Oswald, head of the IOC coordination commission for the 2004 Games, told yesterday’s Sunday Eleftherotypia newspaper. «But now the margins are tight and there is a lot still to be done in Athens.» Oswald said the IOC was worried, apart from construction timetables, about matters such as accommodation, ticket sales and venue overlays. He laid particular stress on the capital’s chronic traffic problems. «A highway that was to have been built in Piraeus will not materialize, the bridges on Kifissias Avenue have been axed, and all this conveys the impression that traffic will be a thorny issue,» he said. An IOC inspection team is due in Athens early next month. He added that if new citizens insisted on serving in the National Guard, the matter would have to be examined.

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