(AFP) – Aug 5, 2008
BEIJING (AFP) — Former IOC vice-president Dick Pound slammed the IOC on Tuesday for the way censorship of Internet sites by Chinese authorities had been handled ahead of the Olympic Games, claiming it had done considerable damage to the organisation.
The 66-year-old former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) added that what should not have been the IOC's problem had been made their problem.
The scandal arose last week when it was revealed that a range of internet sites had been barred by Chinese authorities - something which the head of the IOC's Press Commission Kevan Gosper revealed on Tuesday had been resolved.
However, that did not sit well with the frank-talking Pound.
"With regards to Internet access there appears to have been last minute progress achieved," said Pound.
"However, there has been considerable damage done to us and in my part of the world what was somebody else's problem has become ours.
"This should not have been in the glare of press discussions in August 2008 as we have all known that this could be a problem ever since Beijing were elected and we should have taken whatever steps necessary.
"This turned into our problem when it shouldn't have been."
Pound, who ran third to Jacques Rogge in the election to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as IOC president in 2001, called on Rogge to investigate the matter fully when the executive board came to review the Games.
"The problem with Internet access should not have happened," admitted Rogge.
"However, the other day I was asked would I apologise and I said I would not apologise as the IOC do not run the Internet in China.
"There will be, though, a review of what happened when we come to audit the Games when they are over," added the 65-year-old Belgian.
Gosper told The Australian newspaper last week that he felt his reputation had been dented because of the revelations as he had always said there would be totally free access, whereas it had not turned out to be the case.
But he said Tuesday he took responsibility for the confusion.
"The uncertainties have been resolved but there has been a lack of clarity from our point of view and I take responsibility for that," said Gosper, who took silver in the 4x400 metres relay at the 1956 Olympics.
"Obviously some sites would not have been suitable such as pornographic, subversive or those acting against the national interests.
"But there were some valid ones who were also barred but that has been cleared up and all is calm now...for the moment!"
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