The leader of Pariss bid for the 2024 Olympics has promised he can 100% guarantee none of his team will accept or offer bribes for votes in Septembers election
The leader of Pariss bid for the 2024 Olympics has promised he can 100% guarantee none of his team will accept or offer bribes for votes in Septembers election and backed the International Olympic Committee to clean up a voting process that has been blackened by a series of scandals.
In recent months both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic bids have been linked with illegal payments for votes on the eve of previous elections. However, Tony Estanguet, a three-times Olympic canoeing champion and an IOC member, said Paris would prefer to lose to its sole rival Los Angeles in the September election in Lima, Peru, than to commit any wrongdoing.
When asked whether he could guarantee that his bid would be 100% clean, Estanguet replied: Of course. It is my mentality to respect the process and fight for the principles I believe in. If we dont win, OK but at least we will have fought for the principles I have in my heart.
The Paris Olympic bid co-president also admitted that he was broadly supportive of the mood within the IOC for both the 2024 and 2028 Olympics to be awarded in September but ruled the French capital out of the latter Games.
It is now or never, he said. We will not come back for 2028. If the IOC can find a solution with Los Angeles, thats great but our project is only possible for 2024.
It is not our job to find an agreement with Los Angeles, he added. The IOC leadership carries this responsibility.
The IOC president, Thomas Bach, revealed last week that the IOC executive board had agreed to set up a working group to explore potential changes to the bidding process and report back in July. Officials from both bid cities have said they are focused on the 2024 edition and are not looking beyond that.
However, Estanguet suggested Paris wanted to win fair and square given the fresh scandals that have engulfed the IOC. It was reported this month that a Brazilian businessman gave $2m to Papa Massata Diack the son of Lamine Diack, the disgraced former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations and IOC member three days before Rio won the right to host the 2016 Olympics.
Last year, the Guardian also revealed how the Tokyo Olympic bid team made a $1.3m payment to the Black Tidings secret bank account in Singapore, which is linked to Diack Jr, during Japans successful race to host the 2020 Games. Diack Jr was also apparently involved in 2008 in a scheme to deliver parcels to six influential members of the IOC at a time when Doha, Qatar, was trying to bid for the 2016 Olympics.
However Estanguet compared such behaviour to an athlete doping and said that Paris would respect the rules. When I was an athlete and I was competing by doing the best I can, he said. I wasnt thinking about whether someone was doping or not respecting the rules, my role is to respect the roles, do my best until the finish line. I am part of the IOC and I want to trust this organisation. I know many of the members and we share values, and I trust the IOC to clean this process and to make sure it will be a fair competition and I am confident it is. We want to win this battle but my role is not to try to clean the house.
Paris, which lost out to London in a bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is seen as the favourite for the 2024 Games. Some observers, however, have suggested that the potential election of the neo-fascist Marie Le Pen in May could damage the bid. But Estanguet insisted that was not the case.
We dont do politics, he said. This is a bid led by the sports movement. But we wanted to have the support of all the parties within the parliament and we got it. Also we have to disconnect with political elections because it is not what the people in the street expect. They really want to attend a sporting event and I really want to protect this philosophy. We will see what happens after the election but so far our focus is on showing the IOC that we are the best partner.