"Crisis" in Belgium, says IOC's Rogge

BRUSSELS, June 5 (AFP) - Olympics chief Jacques Roggeslammed authorities in the French-speaking part of hisnative Belgium Saturday for letting a crisis'' developwhere only a handful of francophones are selected forthe Athens Games. The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)lamented that only four out of 50 sportspeople selectedto represent Belgium in the August 13-29 Games come fromWallonia, the French-speaking southern half of thecountry. If we remain at four athletes it will be a terriblesignal for the francophone community. For the love ofGod, it (the francophone community) has got to dosomething,’’ he told the French-language daily Le Soir.
This is really a crisis,'' he added, calling onauthorities in Wallonia -- which has long beeneconomically less developed than the northern Flandersregion, to act urgently’’ to increase the number offrancophones in Athens.
So far the only French-speaking Belgians going toGreece are tennis champion Justine Henin-Hardenne,fencer Cedric Gohy, table-tennis hopeful Jean-MichelSaive and Laurence Rase who will be fighting in thetaekwondo competition.
Rogge, who was born in the western Flemish city ofGent, said the key things needed were more funding andprofessional coaching staff in sporting federations inWallonia.
``They have to do what (French President) Charles deGaulle did in 1960, after the Rome Games, when Francecame home without a medal, and he understood that thestate had to act,’’ he said.