Rogge: IOC OK with BP sponsorship

NEW YORK -- President Jacques Rogge said Friday that the International Olympic Committee has had lengthy discussions with London organizers about BP's sponsorship of the 2012 Summer Games, and the IOC is OK with the deal if the company takes the proper corrective measures after the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"If a company would have been negligent, that's another issue," Rogge told The Associated Press. "Everyone can be exposed to an accident."

Congressional investigators have identified several mistakes by BP in the weeks leading up to the disaster as it fell behind on drilling the well. The federal government is pursuing criminal and civil investigations. Asked what would happen if BP is found negligent, Rogge then said the decision would fall on London organizers.

"It's not our decision," he said.

The explosion April 20 on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and unleashed a spill of millions of gallons. BP is also a major sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Rogge said he didn't want to speculate when asked whether investigations will paint a picture of BP that contradicts the message the IOC is trying to send about sustainability. Officials used the word repeatedly at Friday's announcement that Dow Chemical has signed on as a top-level IOC sponsor.

Rogge also said Friday that South Africa's successes in hosting the World Cup don't necessarily prove it can handle an Olympics. The country announced Tuesday it will bid for the 2020 Summer Games.

Rogge said the scale of an Olympics is so much larger than a World Cup that "you cannot compare it."

"What is important is we could see the organizing committee was a very good one," he said. "It's about the people."

South America will host the Olympics for the first time after Rio won the 2016 games. Now South Africa is seeking to give the African continent its first Olympics.

"If you can go to a country or a region of the world where you have been before, that's fine; that's an added value. But that's not the main purpose," Rogge said.

Rogge predicted five or six countries will bid for the 2020 Games, mentioning Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo as possible host cities.