Gosper laughs off reports he faces sack

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 August, 2008, 12:00am

The chairman of the International Olympic Committee's press commission, Kevan Gosper, last night dismissed claims that he might struggle to retain his prestigious position in the fallout of the internet censorship row.

The veteran IOC official is the subject of heated speculation among the 115 IOC members gathering at the five-star Raffles Beijing Hotel for an executive board meeting after he failed to appear with IOC President Jacques Rogge at his first press conference of the Games on Saturday.

His absence from the podium has been seen as further evidence of a rift between other senior IOC members angered after he publicly named Mr Rogge as one of those privy to a perceived U-turn over unfettered internet access for the media.

Media in his native Australia quoted one IOC member as saying the organisation 'was already looking for a new press commission' chief - a role considered a plum position among ambitious officials in the powerful sporting body.

But Mr Gosper laughed it off.

'I'm not going to comment on rumours. And I will be alongside the president when he gives his first press conference after the executive board meeting is concluded later this week,' he said.

A senior IOC official said the organisation was firmly behind Mr Gosper.

'There might be some embarrassment [within the IOC] about what Mr Gosper said, but he and Mr Rogge are long and good friends,' said the member.