Gaffes are damaging Britain's reputation, says top Olympic official

Last updated at 13:45 29 February 2008

Britain's status in the Olympic movement is being damaged by a series of gaffes, a key member of the International Olympic Committee has warned.

Sir Craig Reedie, one of the architects

of the 2012 Games, launched a

broadside against London mayor Ken

Livingstone and the British Olympic

Association after three

high-profile blunders.

Reedie spoke out after a row

over an Olympic gag on

athletes was followed by the

BOA's controversial plan for

anti-pollution training

masks in China.

Amid the ensuing furore,

Livingstone was then forced to

withdraw an invitation to drugs

cheat Linford Christie (left) to participate in

the Olympic torch relay through London.

As future host Olympic nation, such key

organisations should become aware of

their responsibilities, said Reedie.

“They must realise there's a greater

public interest in everything in

the run-up to the Beijing

Games,” he added. “These

lessons will have to be learned

before the 2012 Games.”

Reedie, former chairman of the

BOA, said it was “unhelpful” for

the organisation to make public

their plans for athletes to train in face

masks in China, considering the efforts the

host nation is making to alleviate pollution.

The disclosure that the BOA had planned to

prevent athletes from commenting on human

rights issues has incensed IOC president

Jacques Rogge, according to sources.

The proposal overshadowed an IOC summit

in Switzerland two weeks ago and prompted

six nations, including the US, to say they would

not contemplate such draconian measures.

Reports of the gag caught BOA chairman Colin

Moynihan, also at the meeting, by surprise.

Moynihan said it was “inconceivable” he

would curtail freedom of speech, pointing out

he opposed the boycott of the 1980 Moscow

Olympics where he won a rowing silver medal.

A second draft of the athletes' contract is

being worked on and will be signed by athletes

in the Beijing squad in the coming months.

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