Johannesburg - South Africa's Olympic committee was not responsible for Cape Town missing a deadline to submit a bid to host the 2020 Olympics, the body's chief executive said Tuesday.
South Africa's Olympic body, Sascoc, said the city's claim that it was never advised of the July 31 deadline was untrue.
"The notion that Sascoc messed up Cape Town's Olympic bid is very far from the truth and in fact is rather an attempt from some to hide their own inefficiency," Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy said.
Sascoc announced Durban as the country's only candidate for the 2020 Games earlier this month, saying Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town failed to show interest.
But Cape Town spokesperson Pieter Cronje said his city was never made aware of any deadline in a disagreement that threatens to undermine South Africa's attempt to bring the Olympics to Africa for the first time.
Cronje said Cape Town had received an invitation from Sascoc to bid in a letter dated July 15, but said the letter was just two paragraphs long and did not give details of the process to be followed.
"We don't deny receiving a letter," Cronje said, "but it was open-ended. There was no outlining of the process, no format and, importantly, there was no deadline. The next thing we knew Durban had been announced as Sascoc's choice."
Representatives from Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth have reportedly said they were not invited to bid.
Sascoc maintains it sent letters to all four cities, which showed July 31 as the deadline for a bid submission, and says only Durban met the deadline. It says it only received a letter of intent from the Cape Town mayor's office last week.
"It is clear that Sascoc has followed due process in the bidding process and cannot be held accountable for any misunderstanding, especially on the part of the city of Cape Town," Reddy said in Tuesday's statement.
Cape Town's second attempt to host the Olympic Games is now almost certainly doomed after Sascoc officially endorsed Durban as its candidate.
Cape Town lost out in the race to host the 2004 Olympic Games, finishing third in a vote behind winner Athens and Rome. The Italian capital is bidding for 2020.
Countries will be invited to formally submit bids to the International Olympic Committee after the IOC's next general assembly - in Durban - in July 2011. The 2020 host city will be selected by the IOC in 2013.
A South African candidate will have to be backed by the government.