Thursday, May 9, 2013
Bach cites ethics issue with Havelange Stadium
LONDON -- Brazil must abide by the IOC's "zero tolerance" ethics policy in deciding whether to keep disgraced former FIFA president Joao Havelange's name on the Olympic stadium in Rio, a top IOC official said Thursday.
Havelange resigned as honorary president of soccer's governing body last month, shortly before the release of a FIFA ethics report that found he accepted bribes in a World Cup kickback scandal in the 1990s.
The Brazilian resigned as an IOC member in 2011 to avoid sanctions in the same case, which involved the former marketing company ISL.
One of the key venues for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro is the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, which will host track and field.
IOC vice president Thomas Bach said any stadium name must respect the IOC ethics policy.
"The IOC is in a good position to be able to build on the zero tolerance policy against doping, against corruption, against any kind of manipulation," said Bach, who announced his candidacy for IOC president on Thursday.
"I would be very happy to continue with this zero tolerance policy for the sake of the credibility of the Olympic Games, the IOC and sports in general."
On Wednesday, city councilmen in Rio presented a bill proposing changing the name of the stadium to preserve the city's image. They suggested changing the name from Joao Havelange to Joao Saldanha, a former coach of Brazil.
The 2016 Rio Olympic committee distanced itself from the dispute.
"Existing venue names are the property of the venue owners, which in this particular case is the city of Rio de Janeiro," the committee said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. "It is a fact that (Havelange) was part of our winning bid team but it is not for us to comment on issues relative to his other activities in sport."
The stadium has been closed since March 26 after engineers said there was a risk the roof could collapse. There was still no timetable for reopening the venue.
"Up until now, there is no Olympic stadium yet in Brazil," Bach said. "There will be an Olympic stadium in 2016. I am sure that Brazil, the organizing committee, will respect all the ethical requirements being established by the IOC at this time."
The stadium is known locally as the Engenhao. The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at another venue, the Maracana.
AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Sao Paulo contributed to this report.