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News Agencies Win Olympic Access

August 18, 2000

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Olympic organizers have agreed to give three international news agencies access to Sydney Olympic sites, resolving a potential trade dispute after weeks of negotiations.

The International Olympic Committee and the Australian Olympic Coordination Authority will allow Associated Press Television News, Reuters Television and Agence France Presse to report outside Olympic venues, an Australian trade official, who asked not to be identified, said Friday.

A European Union official confirmed the agencies will be given access, but said the 15-nation bloc was still waiting for details about how the access will be arranged.

The European Union had threatened to issue a complaint against Australia at the World Trade Organization if the agencies were not given access to the Sydney Games.

The EU complaint didn’t concern the exclusive broadcasting deals under which broadcasters purchase rights to cover the sports events. NBC paid $705 million for the U.S. rights.

Instead, the EU wanted to reverse a decision by state authorities in New South Wales stating that only Australian broadcasters and the international rights holders should have guaranteed access to areas around sports arenas where broadcasters are traditionally allowed to interview athletes.

Reuters and AP had complained about the arrangements by which a drawing would determine which eight foreign broadcasters would be given access each day.

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