Stadium approval called crucial to New York's bid for '12 Games

Olympics

February 25, 2005|By BERGEN RECORD

NEW YORK - New York's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics will be in jeopardy if a proposed West Side stadium isn't approved before the July 6 vote, two International Olympic Committee executives strongly suggested yesterday.

"We are following [the stadium controversy] very closely," IOC evaluation commission chairwoman Nawal El Moutawakel said at a midtown Manhattan news conference that concluded the panel's four-day tour of the city. "We have promises, and hopefully this effort will be successful. Otherwise, it is part of the risk assessment.

"It is important to have the stadium," she said.

Critics of the plan to put a stadium on Manhattan's far West Side have emphasized that the IOC hasn't traditionally insisted that ground be broken on such a facility before the vote.

But Gilbert Felli of Switzerland, another of the 13 commission members, seemed to echo recent comments by supporters that this is a new era.

"The process has changed drastically since 2000," Felli said, after nodding affirmatively to a question about whether the IOC's standards had stiffened.

Paris, Madrid and Moscow already have Olympic-quality stadiums for opening and closing ceremonies, and London has gotten approval to build one.

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