Resort shut down in advance of IOC visit to Sochi

Updated: January 25, 2007, 11:12 AM ET
Associated Press

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- The Russian ski resort bidding to host the 2014 Winter Olympics was shut down for two days this week, ahead of a visit by an IOC evaluation commission.

The dispute involves claims of heavy-handed official tactics to seize control of the business.

The private company that operates ski lifts at the Krasnaya Polyana ski complex suspended its activities from Monday to Wednesday after a series of safety checks it claims were aimed at gaining control of the site.

Sochi is competing against Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2014 Games. The International Olympic Committee evaluation commission will visit the site Feb. 20-23.

Krasnaya Polyana, in the mountains east of Sochi, would be a ski venue at the 2014 Games.

Pyotr Fedin, head of the Alpika-Servis company, called the actions of local authorities "a pure corporate raid."

He told The Associated Press the regional administration indicated that Alpika-Servis should "hand over 50 percent to it, but now apparently they want complete control. All this will affect Sochi's international image as the IOC inspectors come here."

The shutdown came after fire, sanitary and other inspectors arrived Jan. 3 and found multiple violations. Regional authorities said the inspections were linked to preparations for the IOC's evaluation commission visit.

"The checks uncovered a number of violations at facilities of Alpika-Servis," said Natalia Mamon, an aide to Krasnodar's deputy governor. "We asked them to sort these problems out, not stage strikes."

The IOC will select the host city on July 4.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press