POSTED: September 13th 2009

Austria out of Olympic bidding, says Sports Minister after cash scandal

Salzburg: beaten to 2014 Games by Sochi / lake images
Salzburg: beaten to 2014 Games by Sochi / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/VIENNA: The inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck next year will be Austria’s last Olympic set-piece for many years. The country’s sports and political leaders are resigned to a fate out in the IOC cold after the financial scandal which brought down the leadership of the national Olympic committee.

Ever since February public prosecutors have been investigating the financial paper trail linked to Austria’s vain bid to win host rights to the 2014 Winter Olympics on behalf of Salzburg. Those Games were awarded to Sochi instead.

The scandal, linked to lobbyist Erwin Roth, led to the resignation last spring of Heinz Jungwirth as general secretary and then the exit last week of national Olympic president Leo Wallner – who is not only a member of the International Olympic Committee but a member of its ethics committee.

Sports Minister Norbert Darabos, who led calls for all those linked to the project to step down, said: “I feel upset because of the sums of money which might have vanished. Obviously we can forget about Olympic bids for a long time now.”

Darabos said he wanted the financial oversight of sports bodies, and particularly the OOC, overhauled with “transparency and clarification” as the watchwords. For too long, he said, it had taken too long for support funding to reach athletes and too much of the money had been frittered away inexplicably in the administrative process.

He suggested that Karl Stoss – who had, coincidentally, succeeded Wallner as director-general of Casinos Austria in 2006 – would be an ideal candidate as successor to Wallner at the head of the OOC.

Austria hosted the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 1964 and in 1976.

Keywords · OOC · Darabos · Wallner · Salzburg · IOC · Innsbruck · Jungwirth · Stoss

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