The team behind London’s successful bid for the 2012 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games has said it is confident that its campaign was clean and that no underhand tactics were at play during the bidding process.
Earlier this week, the home of Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), was raided by the country’s federal police as part of an investigation into suspicions of vote-buying in the build-up to the award of the hosting rights for the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro.
Nuzman spearheaded Rio’s bid for the Olympics, with the city overcoming Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo in the campaign.
The latest developments have increased scrutiny on the bidding process for the Olympic Games but Sir Keith Mills, who served as chief executive of the London 2012 Games, said he has no reason to believe illicit tactics were used during the English capital’s campaign. “The IOC (International Olympic Committee) had a big problem in the late 1990s and as a result of that put in place some pretty draconian controls,” he told UK newspaper The Guardian.
“When we were bidding for London 2012 we couldn’t buy IOC members a coffee.”
In 1998, after instances of bribery surrounding Salt Lake City’s bid for the 2002 winter Games emerged, the IOC introduced new bidding criteria for its events. Mills said the reforms led to the IOC being more transparent when awarding rights for future events such as the 2012 summer Games.
“They were all so paranoid they would come under suspicion,” Mills added. “Whenever we met they made a big point of making sure it was in public and everything was seen to be above board. Whether that has evaporated over time I don’t know.”
Sebastian Coe, current president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the man who led the London bid, also told The Guardian that “nothing embarrassing” would be uncovered if the campaign were to be investigated.
Craig Reedie, former chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA) and now the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), said London was to his knowledge “a clean bid”.
He added: “Seb and I agreed right at the start that it was going to be done properly, because if anything was even remotely improper it would kill the whole image of the Olympic movement in this country and besides, we didn’t have any money anyway.”