SPORTS

IOC axes Bulgarian member

SINGAPORE – Bulgaria’s Ivan Slavkov was expelled from the International Olympic Committee yesterday following allegations of corruption in a television documentary. Slavkov spoke for 20 minutes at the IOC Session in Singapore after which 82 of 104 fellow members present voted for his expulsion. Twelve members voted against. Slavkov and Serbian sports agent Goran Takach were shown discussing ways to secure votes for choosing the site of the 2012 Games with undercover journalists posing as business agents in a one-hour program broadcast in Britain by the BBC just before the Athens Olympic Games last August. Slavkov has said he and Takach had tried to pull a reverse-sting operation to catch what they thought were «corrupters» of the Games bidding process. London won the race to stage the 2012 Games 54-50 over Paris in the final round of voting on Wednesday. The IOC suspended Slavkov last August and he was not allowed his accreditation for the 2004 Olympic Games. Ethics investigation The IOC ethics commission launched an investigation into Slavkov and in November the IOC executive board recommended he be expelled from the organization at this week’s session in Singapore for tarnishing its reputation. A two-thirds majority of members at the session was required for Slavkov’s expulsion. After yesterday’s decision, Slavkov can no longer act as head of Bulgaria’s National Olympic Committee. «We have discussed the case for a year, this was a one-way street,» Bulgarian news agency BTA quoted Slavkov as saying. «Everybody has friends and enemies and I was punished a year after Athens.» Bulgarian Olympic Committee’s (BOC) sports director Pavel Shtarbanov told Reuters: «This is a very hard blow for Bulgarian sports and Sofia’s bid for the 2014 Winter Games. We have suffered a great loss.» Some officials were concerned the incident had stained the small Balkan country’s reputation in international sport. «For Bulgarian sport this is very unpleasant… It is certain that today’s decision will have consequences,» former European champion and vice-president of the Bulgarian Artistic Gymnastic Federation, Iliana Raeva, told BTA. «It will be bad for the image of Bulgarian sport. I hope officials and people who work for Bulgarian sport will be able to clean it up in the future.» Three others close to the Olympic movement and familiar with the bidding process also featured in the BBC documentary. Takach, Gabor Komyathy, Mahmood El Farnawani and director-general of the Olympic Council of Asia, Muttaleb Ahmad, were also condemned by the IOC at the time. Oloder scandal Slavkov was accused in the 1998 Salt Lake City scandal that shook the Olympic community but was later cleared. The IOC investigation into that scandal led to 10 members resigning or being expelled in connection with bribery and to a tightening of the rules governing contact between IOC members and bidding cities. Salt Lake City staged the 2002 Winter Games. The scandal of 1998 resulted in the Ethics Commission being set up.

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