Field hockey OK for Athens 2004 Olympics, Rogge says

PERTH (AP) – International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge said Saturday that field hockey will be held in Greece in 2004, ending speculation that the event might be moved to Padova in northern Italy because of slow progress in Athens. Rogge, in his first visit to Australia as IOC president, said at the women’s field hockey World Cup that the Olympic field hockey stadium would be ready in time. «We had some difficulties in Athens with general preparation and particularly in hockey because hockey is not a very popular sport in Greece,» Rogge said. «There was a lack of expertise there but our Greek friends are catching up very fast.» Rogge said there was no backup plan, and the capacity of the stadium would be reduced because of the lack of filed hockey interest in Greece. «There is no need for a contingency plan, everything will be ready in due time,» he said. Rogge said he could not guarantee when there would be an equal number of men’s and women’s teams at the Olympics. There are 12 men’s field hockey teams and 10 women’s teams which qualify for the Olympics.

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