SBD/Issue 102/Olympics

Rogge Says VANOC Unlikely To Need IOC Bailout After Olympics

Rogge Believes VANOC Can Avoid
Deficit Without Aid From IOC
IOC President Jacques Rogge yesterday said that VANOC is "so financially flush he is confident the organization can balance its operating budget without relying on an unprecedented offer of IOC assistance" that was set for as much as C$22M, according to Rod Mickleburgh of the GLOBE & MAIL. When asked if VANOC "can avoid a deficit without the aid" of the IOC, Rogge said, "Oh yes, absolutely. I want to be very clear on that." The IOC last August, "in an Olympic first," privately agreed to "help bail out -- if necessary -- hard-pressed 2010 Olympic organizers." Part of VANOC's concern was the loss of C$30M in "hoped-for sponsorship revenue from the IOC itself," as the economic downturn "whittled the number of IOC corporate sponsors to nine from its target of 11." Rogge said that VANOC CEO John Furlong and Exec VP & Deputy CEO Dave Cobb "assured him at a meeting Monday morning that they are confident their budget will be balanced, once all the bills and revenues are toted up." However, Mickleburgh reports VANOC officials "seemed caught off-guard by Mr. Rogge's remarks ... and appeared less sanguine about his rosy prediction of a balanced budget without the IOC needing to pitch in." VANOC VP/Communications Renee Smith-Valade said in an e-mail, "Our plan is to stage the Games with a balanced budget. The IOC has confirmed that once the Games are over, and all of the expenses and revenues are known and final, if we need financial support from them to deliver on that goal, they're willing to participate." Meanwhile, Rogge said that there is "no worry about the IOC's cash situation." Rogge: "The finances of the IOC are in good shape" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/9).

DEALING WITH PROTESTS: Rogge yesterday said that the Vancouver Games "remain fair play -- within limits -- for protesters." Rogge: "We accept people protesting. That is a free democratic expression. What we want is no violence, and we want the people to respect the laws of the country, and then there is no problem" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/9). However, in Vancouver, Damian Inwood reports Olympic security police indicated that they "won't hesitate to 'ramp up' their forces at a moment's notice to deal with illegal protests when an anti-Games rally heads for B.C. Place Stadium on Friday." RCMP Staff Sergeant and Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit spokesperson Mike Cote: "We're not going to stand by and wait until things get out of hand." Inwood notes an estimated 1,000-1,500 protesters "plan to rally at 3 p.m. at Vancouver Art Gallery before heading to B.C. Place" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/9).

CONCERNED ABOUT DOPING: In Vancouver, Jeff Lee reports Rogge also "expressed concern" about the high number of Russian athletes "who have tested positive for doping offences in advance" of the Vancouver Games. He said that he is "aware of the problem and raised it" with Russia President Dmitry Medvedev. Rogge also "defended the right" of Russia biathlete Olga Medvedtseva to "participate at the Vancouver Games after serving a suspension for using drugs" during the '06 Turin Games (VANCOUVER SUN, 2/9).

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