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Greece IOC - Rogge comments on Athens at end of IOC conference
TAPE: EF04/0251 IN_TIME: 10:12:45:17 DURATION: 00:03:34:21 SOURCES: APTN RESTRICTIONS: DATELINE: Athens, 28 Feb 2004/File SHOTLIST: Athens - February 28, 2004 1. IOC president Jacques Rogge entering presser 2. Wide shot, presser 3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jacques Rogge, IOC President "There were delays, they have been mostly catched up. There are still delays today. We have sent a very knowledgeable team of experts; experts in transportation, experts in security to which I referred in my previous answer, experts in technology. In all aspects we have independent, very highly knowledgeable foreign experts. The result of their expertise, which they have indicated to me this week, is that we still have time enough to have very successful games. But of course one has to work very fast. So the feasibility study is reassuring. The implementation we will see in the future. So as I speak of today, it is still time to have successful games, providing our Greek friends work at the same pace. So I remain confident and I have expressed my confidence. It is going to be challenging, but it is feasible." Athens - Recent File 4. Various, stadium being built Athens - February 28, 2004 5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jacques Rogge, IOC President "If we have the stadium without the roof, but still functioning well, I am perfectly happy. We always said that the roof was not needed. It was nice, it was added value, but not absolutely needed. So that is what I expect and believe we will achieve. Will there be difficulties in the games? Of course there will be, there have been in all games." 6. Wide shot, presser 7. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jacques Rogge, IOC President "The experts have been telling me that this is an unprecedented effort by the Greek government, supported by seven other major countries. And the security experts of these foreign countries have the same assessment. So we got a very positive assessment from foreign countries, and not only from our Greek friends. And furthermore we have our own security experts who are the Former Chief of Security of Barcelona and the Former Chief of Security of Sydney. The both work for the International Olympic Committee, and their assessment is also very positive. Does this mean that it is zero risk? Of course not, no-one can guarantee zero risk. But what we can guarantee is that every measure that was needed has been taken and provided for. And for the rest , you can ask me a question at the moment of the closing ceremony." 8. Cameraman 9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jacques Rogge, IOC President "But I know that the security forces have taken everything - I insist on the word ''''''''''''''''everything'''''''''''''''' - into account. And that is definitely both inland and foreign. So all the threats have been analysed, and they include national threats of course." 10. Jacques Rogge, IOC President, leaving presser STORYLINE: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge urged Greek organisers on Saturday to focus on the "core business" of the Olympics and dispense with non-essential projects in their final dash to prepare for the Athens Games. With 167 days before the opening ceremony, Rogge said the games can be a success only if Greece keeps up the frantic pace to finish venues in time for the Aug. 13-29 games. "It''''''''''''''''s going to be challenging, but it is feasible," he said after a two-day executive board meeting. "Am I concerned? I am always concerned until the last athlete has left the Olympic city the day after the closing ceremony." The IOC issued a strong warning to Athens organisers in 2000 after three years of chronic delays. Rogge said the situation improved markedly after the government increased its involvement and Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki took over the organising committee. A number of projects remain unfinished, including a showpiece giant steel-and-glass roof over the main Olympic stadium designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Deadlines are also tight for a roof over the swimming venue, tram and light-rail lines and improvements to the marathon course. Rogge said a contract for the swimming pool roof would be signed on Monday, but he said the stadium roof - intended as the signature image of the games but still far from completion - was not absolutely necessary. Rogge told Athens to concentrate on a few "vital" areas - ensuring safe games, good conditions for the athletes, smooth transportation, well-run venues and compelling television images. Calatrava has sent a letter to Rogge and the Greek government insisting the roof will be completed on time. Security is a major issue for Athens, which is hosting the first summer games since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Greece has budgeted more that 800 (m) million US dollars for security, more than three times what was spent to make the 2000 Sydney Games safe. Rogge cited an "unprecedented effort" by the Greek government and a seven-nation advisory group to provide security. "No one can guarantee zero risk, but what we can guarantee is that every measure that was needed has been taken and provided for," he said.