New trouble for sochi 2014 – accusations of corruption

New trouble for sochi 2014 - accusations of corruption

Dramatic corruption allegations, massive spectator congestion and officials’ frustration – the bad news for the sochi 2014 olympics makers doesn’t rub off.

250 days before the opening ceremony of the russian winter marathon, the organizers are faced with one explanation problem after another. The glittering promises are increasingly turning out to be a sham. IOC president jacques rogge declared on friday in st. Petersburg nevertheless, he is looking forward to fantastic games.

Of the estimated $50 billion total cost of hosting the winter spectacle, $30 billion has been embezzled, according to a report published thursday and co-authored by former deputy head of government and noted putin critic boris nemtsov. "Businessmen and politicians had unlawfully profited from the games," accusation says. In addition, the "slave labor and the poor quality of the migrant workers" was denounced.

Deputy prime minister dmitry kozak, who was responsible for the games, tried to laugh off the accusations. "Despite all the envy, the olympic winter games will be held in the capital of the south, subtropical sochi," said kosak in st. Petersburg. He was not really able to refute the accusations with it. The international olympic committee (IOC) referred the matter to the kremlin.

The rings spectacle in the black sea city will definitely go down in history as the most expensive olympics project ever. The security costs alone are said to be in the billions of dollars. "The authorities are doing an excellent job to guarantee that we will see safe and calm games," said organization head dmitry chernyshenko. Because of sochi’s proximity to the former war zone of chechnya and to troubled dagestan, the russian government does not want to leave anything to chance. The measures taken, however, caused gross anger among top officials.

At the olympic competitions in the mountains, the organizers drastically reduced the initially promised spectator capacity twice and in the end more than halved it. The steps were justified by transport and safety reasons. FIS president gian franco kasper confirmed the huge cuts in alpine and nordic spectators from 20,000 to 7,000 in each event. After several protests, one simply has to put up with it.

"Sochi will organize perfect games. My fear is that it will be a game without emotion and heart," the 69-year-old boss of the international ski federation (FIS) told the dpa news agency. The world luge federation (FIL) was also hit hard. Instead of the originally promised 12,000 spectators, FIL president josef fendt can now hope for a maximum of 5,000 fans at the ice canal. "We have appealed in writing, without success. We are worried that with our long track, this number of spectators is too few and also looks bad visually," said fendt.

Even worse: because of the security problems, sochi 2014 also wants to introduce a spectator passport. According to the report, all ticket holders will have to undergo additional registration before they are allowed into the sports stadiums. "The spectators won’t have it easy," kasper feared.

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