IOC allows New York to devise alternate proposal

Updated: June 9, 2005, 6:12 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- With New York's Olympic stadium rejected, the IOC authorized the city's bid officials Thursday to come up with an alternative plan before the vote next month that will decide the site of the 2012 games.

2012 Odds
City Ladbrokes William Hill
Paris 1-6 1-4
London 7-2 11-4
Madrid 16-1 33-1
New York 33-1 12-1
Moscow 100-1 100-1

New York has been considering its options following Monday's rejection of the proposed $2 billion stadium on Manhattan's West Side, the centerpiece of its Olympic bid.

The International Olympic Committee notified New York bid officials that they could modify the plan -- but that any changes would need approval of the IOC executive board before the vote in Singapore on July 6.

New York is competing against Paris, London, Madrid and Moscow in the highest-profile Olympic bid race in history.

The IOC said the bid file closed on Feb. 24 when the IOC evaluation commission completed its visit to New York. The city couldn't provide guarantees for the stadium at the time, and the IOC said New York had until the Singapore session to do so.

"As we now understand the situation, New York is not able to provide such guarantees," IOC communications director Giselle Davies said in a letter to bid leader Dan Doctoroff.

"In such an exceptional circumstance as this, a bid city has the right to address the issue in front of the executive board."

The board, chaired by IOC president Jacques Rogge, next meets in Singapore July 3-5 before the vote by the full IOC assembly. However, the board members can also make decisions by teleconference.

The executive board has the power to remove a bid city from the race if it determines the candidate doesn't meet the technical requirements.

The stadium, which would be the venue for track and field events and the opening and closing ceremonies, is crucial to New York's chances. The state's Public Authorities Control Board rejected a proposal Monday to spend $300 million in critical state money for the stadium, severely damaging the city's Olympic bid.

With time running out, New York is expected to decide within the next few days what to do next.

"We're exploring every option," Doctoroff said Thursday, declining further comment.

NY2012 executive director Jay Kriegel also gave little away.

"We're just continuing to make every effort to work this out to continue the bid in a strong way that can be successful in Singapore," he said. "We're analyzing all the factors right now. We're trying to move as fast as possible."

It's unclear what those options might be.

A last-minute deal salvaging the West Side site hasn't been ruled out, and using another stadium in the New York area is another possibility. The legal and financial issues also involve the New York Jets, the planned future tenants of the Olympic stadium.

But if New York can't come up with a viable stadium plan to present in Singapore, the city could also pull out of the race.

NY2012 leaders have been consulting with the U.S. Olympic Committee, which fears that a withdrawal could harm the chances of future American bids.

"We're in the process of fact-finding and gathering additional information," USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said earlier this week. "We look forward to having an opportunity to speak with our colleagues at NYC2012 and learn more about their plans moving forward."

The USOC counts on bringing the Olympics to the country on a regular basis. Hosting the games boosts the Olympic movement on home soil and brings in big sponsorship revenues.

The majority of international Olympic sponsors are U.S.-based corporations, and NBC provides the bulk of the IOC's television revenues.

The United States has hosted the Olympics four times since 1980 _ Winter Games in Lake Placid (1980) and Salt Lake City (2002), and Summer Games in Los Angeles (1984) and Atlanta (1996).

Doctoroff, the deputy mayor who has spent 10 years on the 2012 project, is reluctant to give up. He has repeatedly told IOC members that New York would secure the stadium project, but now has nothing to show for it.

"We have told people that we'll deliver," he said in an interview last week. "We've got to make sure we deliver."

The uncertainty can't drag on much longer.

Bid cities are due to submit responses Monday to the IOC evaluation report released this week. The report gave New York a generally positive review, but cited the lack of guarantees for the stadium and other concerns. Front-runner Paris got the best overall assessment.

Doctoroff and the other 2012 bid leaders are due to attend an African Olympic assembly next week in Ghana, where the cities will give their last major presentations before Singapore.

New York's withdrawal from the race would leave an all-European contest. London believes it would benefit by picking up support from New York backers.

"I would say they have to stay in the race," senior IOC member Dick Pound of Canada said. "Walking away at D-day minus three weeks is not a good message for the United States. It's better to go out with your guns blazing."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press