Beijing has assembled a high quality bid for the 2008 Olympics that would leave a unique legacy to China and sport, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.
Paris, Toronto and Beijing were rated clearly ahead of Istanbul and Osaka by the IOC's Evaluation Commission. "There are three cities with only minor deficiencies which would be easy to solve for 2008 - the three cities are more or less at the same level," commission head Hein Verbruggen told a news conference.
"The combination of a good sports concept with complete government support results in a high-quality bid," it said.
"It is the commission's belief that a Beijing Games would leave a unique legacy to China and to sport and the commission is confident that Beijing could organise an excellent Games."
It said there were no significant security concerns anticipated if Beijing won the right to stage the Games.
"The commission notes the process and pace of change taking place in China and Beijing and the possible challenges caused by population and economic growth in the period leading up to 2008, but is confident these challenges can be met," the report said.
The job of the IOC Evaluation Commission is to focus on the technical aspects of a bid such as plans for sports facilities, transportation, accommodation and environmental protection.
The report contained one warning for Beijing. "Care should be taken to ensure that the (organising committee) would not be restricted by unnecessary bureaucracy."
The IOC takes a final vote on the 2008 venue on July 13 in Moscow.
The IOC report praised Toronto's impressive bid and its "compact sports concept". "The major challenge is the capacity of the combined private sector and government alliance to deliver the waterfront sports venues and village developments.
"However, the commission is confident that this could be achieved."
The commission said it was concerned about traffic congestion within Paris.
"Having chosen a theme of "Games within a city" (Paris) is faced with a complex urban Olympic village site," it said.
"While the commission is aware there are several elements of the village planning to be resolved, it is confident this will be achieved," the report said.
Osaka's problems centred around potential transport congestion and concerns about the financial implications of the staging of the Games for the city and its ability to deliver on its plans.
Of Istanbul, the commission said it believed there were "uncertainties regarding the overall status and projections of Games finance. The timelines and cost for all necessary transport infrastructure could be difficult to achieve and these would be essential for the conduct of a successful Games.
"This situation is not helped by the current economic conditions," the report said.
July will see the first vote on the venue of a Summer Games since IOC members were banned from visiting bidding cities after the Salt Lake City corruption scandal in 1998 and 1999.
Athens won the right to stage the next Summer Games in 2004 under different rules in 1997.
(China Daily 05/16/2001)