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2006 World Cup decision Friday, 7 July, 2000, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Moorcroft on missing big games
UK and sport
England lost out to Germany in its attempt to host the 2006 World Cup. Why does the UK seem unable to secure the big sporting events?

The selection process to decide who will host global sporting events is a political game.
David Moorcroft
David Moorcroft: "We need to be really strategic"

And it is a game UK sports officials must either play better, or help rewrite the rulebook for, says David Moorcroft, the head of UK Athletics.

The former 5000m world-record holder led the successful bid to host the 2005 World Athletics Championships in London.

"The politics of it all is so important. We have got to recognise that it's more important than anything else, or influence a change in the selection process," says Mr Moorcroft.

He thinks the allegations of bribery and dirty dealings at FIFA's World Cup 2006 vote, and earlier revelations that International Olympic Committee delegates accepted bribes, will boost moves to change selection procedures.

"Let's try and influence the selection process so it's cheaper, more transparent and more based on facilities and infrastructure."
What we did get
Euro 96
1999 Cricket World Cup
1999 Rugby World Cup in Wales
2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester
2003 World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham
2005 World Athletics Championships in London

He welcomes the government's proposal to introduce a cabinet post for a minister of major events.

"We need to be really strategic about securing these events."

Other lessons he took from the Athletics Championships bidding process were to have a highly skilled panel to evaluate the chance of success, and to try, try again.

"Athens lost out to Sydney for the 2000 Olympics, but it will host the 2004 games."

Once upon a time, numerous world sporting bodies were rooted in the UK, and counted Britons among their top officials, Mr Moorcroft says.

"Today, most are based abroad. Many of the significant and powerful people in sport are not British.

"That's partly due to our own complacency - we've got to get British people in positions of influence."

Capital choice

Like it or not, those deciding between rival bidders tend to prefer capital cities, says Mr Moorcroft.
Lee Valley Park
Lee Valley Park in north London, preferred site of the new national stadium

"I live near Birmingham and pledged my support when Birmingham [unsuccessfully] bid for the Olympics in the late 1980s.

"There's a perception among officials that certain events - the Olympics, World Cup football - are more attractive to supporters from around the world when they are based in London."

Then there is the notoriously unpredictable weather, rumoured to be one of the factors behind Manchester missing out on the 2000 Olympics to sunny Sydney.

It's pointless having the best event in the world but not having sports people that compete at that level

David Moorcroft

Should the British Olympic Association go ahead with its bid to host the 2012 Olympics in London, it will be a massive undertaking to get both the facilities and athletes up to scratch.

"We can't cope with an Olympic games anytime before 2012. But if we get it, we'll get facilities that will become a lasting legacy.

"It's pointless having the best event in the world but not having sports people that compete at that level."

Britain's team returned from Atlanta in 1996 with just one gold medal - the country's worst result in 44 years. UK Sport hopes to turn that around with a 175m network of centres of sporting excellence.

"A major event is a great incentive," says Mr Moorcroft.

"In terms of athletics, the last time we hosted an event on the scale of the World Championships was the 1948 Olympics. For the past 50 years, our athletes have had to compete away from home."

See also:

03 Apr 00 | Sport
02 Jul 00 | Athletics
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