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Banning Cuba could hurt U.S.

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. bids to host future Olympic Games will be damaged by the Bush administration's decision to prevent Cuba from playing in next year's inaugural World Baseball Classic, a member of the IOC said Thursday.

The U.S. Treasury Department denied a request by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association for a permit to allow Cuba to send a team.

"It's for baseball to decide, but if they don't make a stand on something like that, then they will have big problems down the road," said Dick Pound, an International Olympic Committee member from Canada.

If not reversed, he said "it would completely scupper any bid" by the United States for the Summer or Winter Games.

Baseball officials said they had asked lawyers at Morgan Lewis &; Bockius to attempt to have the Bush administration reverse the decision by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which by law must issue permits for certain transactions with Fidel Castro's communist country.

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Sports and politics just don't mix.

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