IOC Expels Six Members

  • Share
  • Read Later
What happens when an irresistible force hits an immovable object? It cracks a little. On Wednesday, the fury of the Salt Lake City Olympic bribery scandal produced its first significant fallout at the Swiss headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. The body voted to expel six members implicated in the taking of hundreds of thousands of dollars in graft during the site selection process for the 2002 games. At the same time, the committee overwhelmingly voted to express its confidence in the leadership of its embarrassed and embattled president, Juan Antonio Samaranch. The votes were expected, says TIME assistant managing editor Howard Chua-Eoan:"The committee knew it had to do something, but it still wanted to express confidence in its leader."

What the IOC does next, however, will be the real determinant of its sincerity. Will the IOC be willing to make meaningful institutional changes? "Most committee members don't like the current reform idea of handing over the site selection process to a smaller group of officials," says Chua-Eoan. "Everyone wants to stay involved." A smaller group, however, could be more closely monitored and more systematically insulated from the current freelance operations of gift-giving and gift-taking. "Simply getting rid of a few people without changing the system will not accomplish much," says Chua-Eoan. "We need to watch where the reform proposal goes."