POSTED: March 9th 2011
BOA pressing its case over funding dispute with London Games organisers
KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications
LONDON, Mar 09: In an extraordinary move, just over 16 months ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the BOA has asked the International Olympic Committee to settle a cash row with the Local Organising Committee.
The British Olympic Association, according to a BBC report, wants the London organising organisation to help make up a £10m shortfall in its budget - though it has insisted that this will not affect support for athletes' preparations for the Games.
LOCOG's apparent refusal has promoted the BOA to appeal direct to Lausanne and that has been confirmed by the IOC. If that fails, then BOA chairman Lord Moynihan is reported by the BBC to be apparently threatening to pursue LOCOG as far as the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The BOA has committed itself to supporting - with training and medical assistance plus the Team GB holding camp in Loughborough - some 550 athletes and 450 support staff ahead of the London Games. This demands careful husbanding of an overall income drawn entirely from commercial sponsorship and fundraising.
Last week BOA chief executive Andy Hunt, after an emergency board meeting, was reported as saying: "We've still got a [financial] gap to close. I'm absolutely certain we will have a full team at the Games and the money will not affect that. The level to which we can support the team is where the challenge comes."
The BOA believes it is empowered to expect financial support from the organisers because it signed over the commercial rights to the Olympic rings to LOCOG for £30m after winning the right to host the Games - a valuation which may well have been underestimated.
The BOA has insisted, in a statement of its own, that the issue is about legacy and has no direct bearing on its support for British competitors.
The statement said: "As the National Olympic Committee, our principal responsibility is to safeguard future opportunities for Olympic athletes and sport throughout the United Kingdom. We are engaged in a process with a view to ensuring that surplus resulting from the London 2012 Olympic Games is available to be used for precisely those purposes.
"Quite simply, our objective is this: to guarantee that the London 2012 Olympic Games deliver a meaningful post-Games legacy that is beneficial to Olympic sport and athletes, present and future, throughout the UK.
"This is about protecting the future for athletes, for sport and for our national governing bodies. We are doing exactly what every National Olympic Committee is expected to do: we are safeguarding a future sports legacy in our country.
"We have taken these steps with the full support and direction of our board of directors. We are confident an amicable and equitable resolution will be reached. This has absolutely nothing to do with addressing our funding requirements for 2011 and 2012. We have a plan in place to generate those revenues and are confident we will do so."
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