POSTED: October 30th 2009

AIPS attacks Vancouver Games organisers over hotel charging

Gianni Merlo: demanding a retraction / AIPS
Gianni Merlo: demanding a retraction / AIPS

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: A row over hotel costs has erupted between the international media and organisers of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver next February.

News organisations have always been suspicious about the charges levied by hotels on ‘official media accommodation’ lists recommended by organisers of major international sports events. The latest outbreak of anger adds another issue to a media irritant list which includes disputes over event photography copyright and excessive internet access charges.

Notification by VANOC of hotel charge guarantee arrangements has upset AIPS, the international sports press association. Gianni Merlo, Italian president of AIPS, has described the proposals as “an insult to the integrity of the media.”

VANOC has cautioned all journalists which have booked ‘official media accommodation’ to ensure their credit cards can support  “up to a maximum of C$100.00 per night for possible incidental charges during your stay.” This means up to a maximum C$1,500 for a two-week stay on top of security deposits beyond the nightly room rates already demanded in advance.

Merlo, in a letter to VANOC, says: “I read this as an insult. Never before has the media been subjected to such arrogant and distrustful behaviour from an organising committee. It is really an insult to the integrity of the media, and as the head of the International Sports Press Association I wish to lodge an official protest on behalf of all media intending to cover the Vancouver Games.

“We have already have paid invoices sent by VANOC for the hotels and various accommodation options; tariffs that are already obviously much higher than in comparison to the prices normally charged.” Merlo says that the latest proposals are treating journalists like “delinquent travellers.”

He concludes: “We invite VANOC to cancel this nonsense.”

Keywords · 2010 Winter Olympic Games · Vancouver · AIPS · Merlo

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