Less sports at 2012 Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee on Friday decided that baseball and softball would no longer feature in the summer Olympic Games programme from 2012.

But, in a blow to rugby, which had been one of five sports in the frame to replace them, the more than 100 IOC members voted against allowing any new sports into the games.

As a result, the number of sports included in the first London Olympics for more than 60 years will be 26, rather than 28 at present. The decision is expected to save the London organisers about £50m, since they will no longer need to provide baseball and softball venues.

Squash and karate were the two sports that came closest to making it on to the 2012 games programme. Golf and roller sports were the other possible replacements.

One senior IOC member attributed the decision to drop baseball and softball to poor lobbying and weak leadership by the sports in question. He said squash in particular had made it clear how much it wanted to be part of the games.

Separately, it emerged that the IOC is likely to take part in next year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The IOC also decided on Friday that the equestrian events in the 2008 Beijing Games would be staged in Hong Kong.

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