Cape Town asks if 2020 Games bid can be considered

Cape Town asked South Africa’s Olympic committee if it would

consider a possible bid from the city to host the 2020 Olympics

after missing the original deadline.

The nation’s Olympic body, SASCOC, said Cape Town missed the

July 31 date to declare interest in bidding and announced Durban as

the country’s only candidate earlier this month.

But officials in Cape Town, which mounted a failed bid for the

2004 Olympics, said they were not made aware of any deadline in a

disagreement that threatens to undermine South Africa’s attempt to

bring the Summer Games to Africa for the first time.

”The city has written to SASCOC to ask for the opportunity to

consider a possible submission of a bid,” Cape Town spokesman

Pieter Cronje wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Earlier Tuesday, SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy insisted the

country’s Olympic body had informed all four possible candidate

cities – Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth – of

the cutoff date.

”The notion that SASCOC messed up Cape Town’s Olympic bid is

very far from the truth and in fact is rather an attempt from some

to hide their own inefficiency,” Reddy said.

Cronje acknowledged that Cape Town had received an invitation to

bid in a letter dated July 15, but he said the letter was just two

paragraphs long and did not give details of the process to be

followed.

”We don’t deny receiving a letter,” Cronje said, ”but it was

open-ended. There was no outlining of the process, no format and,

importantly, there was no deadline.”

Officials from Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth have reportedly

said they were not invited to bid, while SASCOC maintains it sent

letters to all four cities and only Durban met the deadline.

Cape Town lost out in the race to host the 2004 Olympic Games,

finishing third in a vote behind winner Athens and Rome. The

Italian capital is bidding for 2020.

Countries will be invited to formally submit bids to the

International Olympic Committee after the next general assembly –

in Durban – in July 2011. The 2020 host city will be selected by

the IOC in 2013.

A South African candidate will have to be backed by the

government.