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Samaranch: Crackdown Will Continue

May 18, 1999

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) _ IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch warned Tuesday his organization will continue its crackdown on members accepting bribes.

``We were very tough with members who were guilty regarding Salt Lake City,″ Samaranch said at a news conference. ``If a new case appears, we will act in the same way.″

The vote-buying scandal surrounding Salt Lake City’s successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games resulted in 10 IOC members resigning or being expelled in the biggest purge in the committee’s 105-year history.

Samaranch, who is visiting Prague to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Czech Olympic Committee, insisted that the IOC could not have acted sooner to head off the vote-buying.

``We had many rumors that the behavior of some members of the committee was not right,″ Samaranch said. ``But we cannot act on rumors. We need facts.″

He noted, however, that it takes two to bribe: ``one party who is offering, and the other one who is taking.″

Samaranch also dismissed concerns that sponsors might pull out of the games because of the scandal.

``Next year we will have the Olympic Games in Sydney, and not a single sponsor withdrew,″ Samaranch said. ``And yesterday, we had a very good news coming from Salt Lake City: new sponsors are coming.″

He did not provide details, but on Friday the Salt Lake Olympic Committee announced the first new national sponsor in nearly a year. Marker Ltd. of Salt Lake will supply all the uniforms for staff at the games, a sponsorship worth at least $20 million.

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