From Paul Eddison in Tokyo
The International Olympic Committee have defended themselves against accusations of a lack of transparency ahead of the expected confirmation of Brisbane as the host of the 2032 Games.
Who follows Paris and Los Angeles will be announced on Wednesday, with Brisbane having been named as the IOC’s preferred candidate in February in a new-look bidding process.
The issue surrounds IOC vice president John Coates, who managed an overhaul of that process.
As well as his IOC role, Coates is also the president of the Australian Olympic Committee, raising questions of a conflict of interest.
However, IOC spokesman Mark Adams insists that Coates has not been involved in the decision-making, while also denying that Wednesday’s vote is a foregone conclusion.
Adams said: “John is obviously a member of the executive board. He has excused himself from any decisions and obviously a conflict of interest is important.
“We have a report about conflicts of interest at every executive board meeting from our head of ethics and compliance. Yes, people from the Olympic movement are involved in various issues, whether it’s a sport or an NOC (National Olympic Committee) issue, but we make sure strictly that they don’t get involved with decisions.
“Our ethics compliance is external, so it’s all stuff we do on top of what we statutorily have to do, so it’s additional stuff. We benchmark against good corporate practice. We have the very highest level of governance.
“Brisbane has worked for this, it’s worked very hard for this. They are the preferred candidate and have been through a very long process and answered the questionnaires and answered an awful lot of questions.
“This isn’t a done deal because it’s up to the session to decide, they can decide to put them back into the pot, there are other candidate cities who are still interested parties so that could still happen. So what will be decided, I will keep the suspense going for you and you’ll have to watch tomorrow, but it’s not a done deal.”
It is the latest issue to affect these Olympics which face unprecedented opposition from the local population.
That led to Toyota, one of the biggest sponsors at the Olympics, making the decision to pull Tokyo 2020-related adverts during Games.
Despite that, Adams was keen to reassure the Japanese public that the IOC and the Tokyo Organising Committee are doing everything in their power to ensure the Games are as safe and secure as possible.
He added: “Our message is that we understand concerns. These are difficult times but we’d like to reassure the Japanese public that everything is being done.
“The latest figure is that we’ve had nearly 30,000 tests at the airport of staff, athletes and all stakeholders. Each of those nearly 30,000 people has been tested twice before they even arrive so all those people have had three tests, it’s 100,000 tests.
“I think we can give them a level of satisfaction that everything is being done by us to try to ensure there will be safe and secure Games. There can never be zero risk but we have reduced it as far as we think is humanly possible.”
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