International Olympic Committee (IOC) President stepped in overnight to diffuse a potential dispute between London and Paris. Paris 2012 had earlier considered making a formal complaint after a delegate connected to London’s 2012 bit told a news conference that the Stade de France was not ideal for athletics.
After looking at a transcript of the news conference the Paris 2012 delegation decided against taking legal action.
Rogge said, “had anyone stepped over the line I would have intervened. The fact I said nothing is a sign that nobody has gone over the line. We have received no complaints from any city here in Singapore”.
It seems that Jim Sloman and Rod Sheard, Australian consultants to London 2012, were critical of the sightlines for spectators at the Stade de France, the proposed centrepiece of Paris’ 2012 bid.
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said, “it’s not up to Paris to interpret the rules, that is a matter for the IOC. On our part, it will be fair play throughout. We will not be belittling the others”.
British IOC member Craig Reedie said he’d “happily spoken” to the French delegation and “it’s not an issue”.
Britain’s Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, the Cabinet member responsible for the Olympics, said the London consultants had responded to direct questions at a news conference and didn’t mean to offend the Paris bid. “I’m sorry if the French took offence”, she told the BBC.
Under IOC rules of fair play the candidates aren’t allowed to criticize the bids of rival cities.
London said afterwards that although Sloman and Sheard had worked for the bid in the past they were not under contract to London 2012 at the moment.
“We totally understand the rules and guidelines” said London communications director Mike Lee. “The comments were not made by a member of the bid team or a spokesman for the bid. Mr. Sheard, as a stadium designer, has his views and he’s not in any position to speak on behalf of the London bid”.