SPORTS

IOC member denies voting mix-up for 2012

Greek member of the International Olympic Committee Lambis Nikolaou yesterday denied playing any part in an alleged voting mix-up during the July elections that led to London’s selection as host city of the 2012 Olympics. «The speculation concerning my role during the third voting round in the 2012 [host] city elections are completely without foundation,» Nikolaou said in a statement. «I did not vote in the third round, something I had already announced during the procedure,» he said. The controversy arose on December 23, when senior Israeli IOC member Alex Gilady told BBC News 24 that London only won the bid for the 2012 Games because of a misplaced vote. Gilady said the mix-up happened when a vote was cast for Paris instead of Madrid, which meant the Spanish capital lost out in the penultimate round. It is understood that Nikolaou was the member who was alleged to have pressed the wrong button. Gilady told BBC News 24 that had the vote gone to Madrid, it would have finished level with Paris on 32 votes apiece. The Israeli member of the IOC’s London 2012 Coordination Commission suggested the Spaniards would have triumphed in a head-to-head with the French, and then would have seen off London in the final round. The International Olympic Committee corroborated Nikolaou’s side of the story on Tuesday, saying in a statement that «104 voting boxes were distributed to the members eligible to vote…103 votes were cast [and] one IOC member did not vote.» Declaring that at the close of the third round Paris was leading Madrid by 33 votes to 31, the IOC said that «even if the 104th vote had been cast, it is mathematically impossible that it could have changed the outcome… even if the 104th vote had been cast for Madrid, that city would still have been eliminated.» Gilady’s claim was also flatly rejected by British IOC member Craig Reedie on December 23. «The story is totally irrelevant, the voting was conducted in a secret ballot under the rules of the IOC, absolutely properly, all votes were properly recorded,» Reedie told BBC Radio Four. (AFP)