IAAF council member demands resignation of Nebiolo
Aug. 21, 1997
NEW YORK (AP) _ The IAAF council member from Kuwait has demanded that the powerful Italian head of the world track and field organization, Primo Nebiolo, apologize to the Greek people for his actions during the recent World Championships or resign.
In a letter to Istvan Gyulai, general secretary of the International Athletic Amateur Federation, Eisa Al-Dashti severely criticized Nebiolo's behavior at the championships in Athens earlier this month.
``... You presented us badly in Greece when you criticized the people of Greece,'' Al-Dashti said in the letter directed toward Nebiolo that was dated Aug. 14 and a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. ``You were so aggressive and rude in your treatment and management of the said meet. You were so tough even with the Greek Minister and the Greek Organizing Committee.
``Because of this very bad behavior of yours, the Greek ... public was frustrated and angry and it was shown by the unruly reaction during the games at the stadium, shouting and booing for you to step down and go home. You were not observing the real purpose of these events, which are love, modesty and good sportsmanship.''
The loudest booing came on the final day of the championships, Sunday, Aug. 10. Nebiolo then left Athens, suggesting Greece was not fit to stage the 2004 Olympics.
Without citing names, he also said there were people at the championships that ``didn't deserve my friendship and did not deserve my respect.''
Athens is one of five finalists to be the host city for the 2004 Olympics. The others are Cape Town, South Africa; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Stockholm, Sweden, and Rome, which Nebiolo, has thrown his support behind.
The International Olympic Committee will make its decision Sept. 5 at Lausanne, Switzerland.
Just after the championships, Greece's foreign minister, Theodoros Pangalos, said Nebiolo ``violated the base rule of athletics by mixing politics with sport.''
That kind of behavior also distressed Al-Dashti.
``It was ... very unprofessional of you to withdraw from the turning over of the IAAF flag to the next host country, Spain,'' Al-Dashti said in his letter.
``This is not the first time you showed this kind of behavior. We also witnessed the rudeness in Gothenburg (Sweden) in 1995, and at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, in 1996. By this behavior, you have insulted the real purpose of those organizations, which is to promote good relationships between countries through sports.
``Because of this, I demand that you ... apologize to the Greek people, especially to the Greek Organizing Committee, the Greek Minister of sports, and to the members of the International Amateur Athletic Federation. If you can't do this, I demand that you resign as head of our organization.''