The 1988 Olympics will be held in Seoul or abandoned if the po
LONDON (AP) _ The 1988 Olympics will be held in Seoul or abandoned if the political situation makes it impossible to stage the Games in the South Korean capital, the head of the International Olympic Committee was quoted as saying today.
IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that no alternative site to Seoul had been discussed.
″Either we go to Seoul or there will be no Games,″ Samaranch told the London-based national newspaper.
Samaranch was not at his office in the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. Michele Verdier, the IOC spokeswoman, also was out of the office and unavailable for comment.
The IOC awarded the 1988 Games to Seoul in 1981 and said last month that, despite increasingly violent protests against the government of President Chun Doo-hwan, it had no plans to change the site.
Verdier said at the time that the only provision in the olympic Charter for removing the Games from a city was an ″act of war.″
In the interview with the Daily Telegraph, Samaranch said the situation in Seoul appeared to have improved in the last week, since Chun accepted a series of opposition demands including the release of several hundred political prisoners.
″We have 15 months until the Games and I am sure that by then the improvement will have taken place,″ the IOC chief said. ″Seoul has made us no promises, but we are keeping in close contact.″
Los Angeles and New York are among the cities that have offered to host the ’88 Games, should Seoul be unable to do so. Samaranch, however, said no backup sites were under review.
″We have never discussed an alternative site,″ he said. ″The Games were awarded to Seoul and the Games will go on in Seoul ... We will not change that decision. It is Seoul or no 1988 Olympics.″
Samaranch is scheduled to meet next week in Lausanne with delegations from North Korea and South Korea in the fourth set of talks over the north’s demand to co-host the ’88 Games.