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With its new guidelines, the USOC "might have made it more difficult" for cities bidding for the 2012 Summer Games and "easier for Olympic officials," according to Abby Haight of the Portland OREGONIAN. Under new requirements, cities must form a formal bid committee by the end of June and sign on to the USOC bid agreement by September 30. The agreement restricts the bid committee from marketing or signing up sponsors without USOC approval (OREGONIAN, 4/5). A "tougher second contract" that must be signed later "includes a promise the city, county or state government involved cover any deficit incurred by the games" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/5). MORE MEDALS IN 2002? The USOC Exec Committee "discussed proposals to spend about" $15M-$20M over the next few years "in programs aimed at boosting the country's medal count at the 2002 Winter Games." Planned programs include earlier support for winter sport athletes, and help in training at the Salt Lake City sport sites to develop a "home field" familiarity (Abby Haight, Portland OREGONIAN, 4/4). NOTES: The USOC Board of Directors put the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) on 180 days probation for failing to redraw its charter and constitution, putting the organization "on the brink of ouster" from the U.S. Olympic family. If the USSF "fails to comply with USOC rules and regulations" over the next 180 days, it would be removed as the sport's NGB (Mike Spence, CO Springs GAZETTE, 4/6). ...The USOC approved a revised four-year budget of $428M for the organization. USOC Treasurer James Morris said that "there was originally a projected surplus" of $5M at the end of '97, but the USOC ended up with a $20M surplus, which will allow it to delay having to borrow money....The USOC approved the addition of the USA Rugby Football Union as an affiliated sport organization member (USOC).