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Australian to stay on IOC, but he must quit Sydney post
He says political pressure forced him off SOCOG

SEOUL, South Korea -- The last International Olympic Committee member whose position was threatened by the Salt Lake scandal has escaped expulsion -- again.

But while Australian Phil Coles will stay on the IOC, he won't be a part of the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney. He has resigned from SOCOG, the Sydney organizing committee.Coles is also barred from serving on any IOC commission or working group for two years.

Those terms were announced Monday by the IOC after two days of closed-door meetings to determine Coles' fate. He'd already received "the most serious of warnings" from his IOC colleagues in March.

That was for accepting trips worth thousands of dollars from Salt Lake Olympic officials, including to the 1995 Super Bowl in Miami just months before IOC members voted to send the 2002 Winter Games to Utah.

Coles' latest offense surfaced several weeks ago. Coles and his companion, Patricia Rosenbrock, compiled personal information on IOC members intended to help both the Sydney and later, the Salt Lake bids.

Some 400 pages of notes were made public by the head of the Sydney Games, and suddenly, such personal details as one female IOC member's preference for younger men were being reported around the world.

That infuriated the IOC members, of course, and a special panel that included IOC Vice President Anita DeFrantz of the United States was created to figure out what to do with Coles.

The panel, which was still deliberating as late as Saturday, decided Coles should be "most seriously warned" this time even though putting together the report was not actually an offense.

What the panel determined was that Coles should not have contributed to a document that "contains accusations prejudicial to IOC members." At the very least, those accusations should have been kept secret by Sydney bidders.

And although Coles has continued to deny he gave the report to his friends in Salt Lake City, the panel's report stated that it was reasonable to believe some of the notes were written for the 2002 Winter Games bid.

Still, that apparently wasn't enough to justify recommending Coles for expulsion. Six IOC members were expelled in March for accepting cash, gifts, scholarships and other inducements from Salt Lake bidders.

But it was enough to oust him from Sydney's Olympic organizing committee. IOC officials had some difficulty explaining Monday why Coles wasn't fit to help organize the Sydney Games but was fit enough to stay on the IOC.

In Sydney, Coles charged that "political pressures" had forced him off the SOCOG board but said he was relieved he will keep his IOC position.

"It's another disappointing day for me," Coles said. "Still, being on the IOC is nice and I appreciate that, but it's a sad day that political pressures have forced this."

Coles said he believed SOCOG President Michael Knight had forced his resignation.

Kevan Gosper, the other IOC member from Australia, told reporters he hoped Monday's action would help separate the Sydney Games from the controversy surrounding Coles.

"He will be far less active as an IOC member, and he will simply not be involved with the completion of the organization of the Games," Gosper said. "It's quite a big role to have to resign from."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.