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Ogi doesn't want to play role of elder statesman or sportsman

Swiss president, Adolf Ogi (left) and the hardliner Christoph Blocher. Ogi does not plan a major role in the People's Party. Keystone

Switzerland's president, Adolf Ogi, has told the Swiss press that he declined an offer to become the head of the Swiss Olympic Federation after he leaves office at the end of the year, adding that he also plans to step out of the political limelight

This content was published on October 21, 2000 - 14:26

Less than three days after he announced his resignation, Ogi told the Swiss newspaper, "Der Bund," on Saturday that his duties as president prevented him from taking over for the outgoing head of the Swiss Olympic Association, René Burkhalter.

Ogi explained that in practical terms, the job was out of the question. "I can't really divulge much at this stage. However, I can tell you that I have declined to become the president of the Swiss Olympic Federation simply because I am not available to take the job before leaving office on December 31."

Burkhalter, who has headed the Swiss Olympic Federation for 16 years, is also due to step down at the end of the year. He had said that if Ogi took over, it would be a bonus for Swiss sport.

Ogi's political and professional background in sports had fuelled wide speculation that he might take over as the head of the association and that he might even be in line to take over as boss of the International Olympic Committee, when Juan-Antonio Samaranch steps down next year.

When asked about the future of the Swiss People's Party, Ogi told "Der Bund" that he is closing a chapter in his life and does not plan to play a major political role in the party's future. He added that it was important to him to finish his party work on a positive note.

He also discussed his relationship with fellow People's Party member, Christoph Blocher, saying that despite everything that has happened between them, they have developed mutual respect for each other. "Fortunately," Ogi is quoted as saying, "I'm able to distinguish between a political confrontation and a friendship."

Blocher, one of Switzerland's most outspoken politicians, is the leading figure from the Zurich wing of the People's Party.

swissinfo with agencies

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