Spit It Out

Novinite Insider » EDITORIAL | August 6, 2004, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Spit It Out Bulgarian Olympic Committee (BOC) chairman and IOC member Ivan Slavkov has vowed to clear his name and that of his country, but prefers to keep silent for the time being.Photo by Yuliana Nikolova (novinite.com)

By Milena Hristova

A day before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) spells the fate of its Bulgarian member, Bulgaria has at its disposal a scandalous BBC documentary and the assurance that its name will be cleared.

Bulgarian Olympic Committee (BOC) chairman and IOC member Ivan Slavkov has vowed to clear his name and that of his country in the wake of the votes-for-cash scandal that BBC Panorama programme triggered.

At least he got that right - BBC claims of corruption and inappropriate conduct in the 2012 Olympic bidding process will surely put a stain not only on his name, but also on Bulgaria.

It is both indicative and sad that it was foreigners who delved into the tricks of OIC corruption to come up with allegations against Bulgaria's top sports official. BBC muck-raking might cost London 2012 bid vital votes, but it will surely cost Bulgaria much more unless it acts accordingly in a face-saving operation.

Sofia responded with silence to the commotion, leaving people guessing as to whether officials are too shocked or just cautious - playing safe in a game with many interests and money at stake.

Forgetting that it is also Bulgaria's image that is at stake.

The silence to Slavkov's woes has been all the more deafening against the background of turmoil at the International Olympic Committee. IOC sent contradictory messages, battling with the dark ghosts of the 1998 Salt Lake scandal, in which Slavkov was also accused but later cleared.

According to Germany's IOC member Manfred von Richthofen Ivan Slavkov "a man who has once been suspected of contrary to the IOC's goals behaviour and now discredits IOC again has nothing to do in that leadership any more."

The allegations mixed with an argument that a man - nothing short of OIC Vice-President Vitaly Smirnov - believes could acquit Slavkov.

"Nobody has taken the money", he said.

An argument no different than Slavkov's poor excuse he just played along in a reverse-sting operation.

Slavkov himself, packing up for the Olympics in Athens, assured Bulgarians he was "fine."

So are the journalists from the BBC, who claim pigs would fly before they get sued.

Reminds me of the words of Goran Takac, intermediary in the deal, who vehemently defended his Bulgarian friend at their first public appearance after the scandal broke.

"The story would be comic if it was not tragic".
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