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Osaka blames new rules for Olympic failure

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MOSCOW — The Olympic bid committee from the Japanese city of Osaka said on Friday new rules forbidding delegate visits to candidate cities had led to its elimination in the first round of voting for the venue of the 2008 games.

Beijing clinched the honour, winning the ballot ahead of Toronto and Paris with Istanbul coming home fourth in the second and final round of voting at a session of the International Olympic Commitee (IOC).

"The ban on overseas bidding activities...resulted in limited time to promote our bid," the Osaka committee said in a statement.

"Being a city making a first-time bid, as opposed to the other candidate cities, many of the members of the IOC did not have the opportunity of actually experiencing our city and gaining greater understanding about what Osaka can offer."

"There is so much more of Osaka we could have shown."

IOC delegates were banned from visiting cities competing for the games after the Salt Lake City bribery scandal, which led to sweeping reform and the expulsion of 10 members for breaking rules on accpting gifts from the U.S. city when it bid for the 2002 Winter Games.

Osaka's effort failed to recover from a damaging report by the IOC's evaluation committee expressing reservations about the city's ability to finance the Games and potential traffic headaches.

Osaka's bid committee stressed the quality of its sporting venues and tried to dismiss the financial fears as misunderstandings. But to no avail.

"We regret very much that Osaka was not able to live up to the expectations of all those who have been working with us in promoting our bid, as well as of the citizens who have given so much support," the bid committee said.