POSTED: April 2nd 2011
InDepth

Pressure building up on 'Lords of Conflict' to end their 2012 cash clash

On opposite sides: Lord Moynihan and Lord Coe / Fotosports.com
On opposite sides: Lord Moynihan and Lord Coe / Fotosports.com

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON, Apr 02: SportAccord is in London this coming week, just under 500 days to the city's staging of the 2012 Games, with world sport's 'annual meeting' being offered a grandstand view to the escalating cash row between the two main local parties to the hosting.

The London organisers (LOCOG) - supported by the International Olympic Committee - believes that any surplus should be split after the Olympics and the Paralympics while the British Olympic Association wants its cut of the Olympic bonus ahead of the Paralympics which, it fears, will make a profit-cutting loss.

Government pressure on both the ever more firmly entrenched LOCOG and the BOA - headed by Lord Moynihan - to resolve the issue and curb the increasing embarrasment has so far gone unheeded.

Lord Coe, chairman of LOCOG, has dismissed the BOA claim as "spurious" while Tessa Jowell - Olympics Minister until the last General Election - has told the BOA to "back off." The IOC has claimed that the Court of Arbitration for Sport - to which the BOA has appealed - has no jurisdiction over what is a non-sport-related issue.

Coe said: "This is a spurious case. The Government has made it clear rhat there is no public money in the settlement. I can safely say that we are running hard to maintain a balanced budget."

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has joined the chorus of disapproval but without, intriguingly, taking sides. He issued a wide appeal to all sides by saying: "This is not the right argument to be having so close to the Olympics in our country. It is extraordinary that just over a year before the Games we are going a dispute which is not going to benefit anyone. We need to sort it out quickly."

At least the practical efforts to prepare for the Games are bearing obvious fruit, as the IOC's co-ordination commission noted this week during a visit which took in the now-completed Olympic Stadium and looked forward to the essential string of test events.

Other visited sites nearing completion included the Olympic Stadium, the first residential block of the Athletes Village as well as some that are already open for test events, including the 6,000-seat Velodrome.

Athletes' Games

Commission chairman Denis Oswald said: “The venues look fantastic thanks in large part to the vision and planning of London 2012 and the construction team, who have clearly taken great pride in their work. We're very pleased with the progress, and we can see that the athletes are really at the heart of these Games.

"Now it’s time to focus on the details and the testing phase, which is no easy process. But if they continue to follow the path they are currently on, we have absolutely no doubt they will deliver a top-quality Games and a great legacy.”

London will play host to 42 sports events between now and the start of the Games on July 27 next year.

Coe said, “The athlete in me knows that you never want to face something in an Olympic and Paralympic Games that you haven’t encountered thousands of times before in training or previous competition – and it is this principle which is guiding our preparations.

"I have always believed that if you focus on the athletes, who are at the heart of our Games, then we will get it right for all the other groups. We are in great shape and with less than 500 days to go we are delighted with the IOC’s very positive feedback.”

The Coordination Commission’s ninth and penultimate visit to London is scheduled for October 5-7.

Meanwhile the IOC will hold an executive board meeting in London on Tuesday and Wednesday, coinciding with the start of SportAccord at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge.


Keywords · IOC · London 2012 · Olympic Games · SportAccord · Coe · Jowell · LOCOG · BOA · CAS


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