International Olympic Committee member Craig Reedie has dismissed suggestions that London’s successful bid to stage the 2012 Games was the result of an IOC delegate miscasting his vote are “totally irrelevant”.
IOC member Alex Gilady claims Greek delegate Lambis Nikolaou made a mistake by voting for Paris in the third round. The Israeli argues that had his vote gone to Madrid as he claims Nikolaou intended, the Spanish and French capitals would have been level on 32 votes each.
In a vote-off London’s supporters, he claimed, would have backed Madrid in order to eliminate the supposedly greater threat of Paris, and then Paris’ backers would have supported Madrid to scupper London in the final round.
Reedie responded coolly to the story and felt it required a series of leaps to conclude that London had only won because Nikolaou hit the wrong button.
“The story is totally irrelevant, the voting was conducted in a secret ballot under the rules of the IOC, absolutely properly, all votes were properly recorded,” Reedie said.
“If Alex is claiming that an unnamed member ‘might’ have done something which ‘might’ have brought about something else which ‘might’ have brought about a different voting structure then I’m afraid that this is the kind of tittle-tattle that happens after many an IOC vote.
“London won the Games hands down. If you’re looking for reasons for London’s win I suspect you should probably look at the quality of the bidding effort that went in in Singapore and the quality of the lobbying effort, and above all the quality of the presentation.”
Asked if he could recall any problem with the voting, Reedie told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “I think I can remember the incident, it wasn’t all that long.
“If it was the same member that Alex is talking about – and I don’t think he says that – that particular member asked for time to vote and was told that the time limit was up. When the votes were counted at the end, then clearly everybody had voted, so I’m sorry, I don’t understand the issue.
“It is not traditional, but I have certainly known that after a number of IOC votes there are all sorts of rumours about who voted for whom, but the votes are properly recorded. I have no idea where this came from and I haven’t heard this before.”
Referring to the third round of the voting exchanges in Singapore in July, Gilady told BBC News 24: “London was ahead, but Paris and Madrid were 33-31 in the votes.
“Let’s say what we think now happened, that one member made a mistake and voted for Paris rather than Madrid.
“If he had voted for Madrid it would be 32-32. We would have to have had a vote-off.
“In the vote-off all the votes supporting London would go to Madrid, because the fear was that Paris had a big chance to win.”
Gilady claimed that all the votes from an eliminated Paris would then have gone to support Madrid in the final.
In the final round of voting, London beat Paris 54-50 to win the right to host the 2012 Olympics.
Feliciano Maroyal, the chief executive officer for the Madrid 2012 bid, which would have succeeded if Gilady’s analysis is correct, told The Times: “We were very close to winning. We can never know if the Greek vote would have been decisive, but it is lamentable for one human error to have ruined all our hard work which we put in trying to win the Games.”