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Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 17:14 UK

Olympic stadium and football

Jerry Thomas
Jerry Thomas
The Politics Show, London
BBC London

The Conservatives have given the strongest indication yet that, should they win the general election, the Olympic Stadium will be used for football.

In 2005 Jacques Rogge announced London had won the right to stage the 2012 Olympics.

Since then the hosting and staging of the games has become a key political and cultural battleground.

The project has had many hurdles to overcome.


Jacques Rogge with Lord Sebastian Coe
Hosting the games has become a key political and battleground

The budget, which some critics contend was never properly costed, spiralled from 2.4 billion to 9.3 billion with fears that the final bill would exceed even that.

But with three years to go there would now appear to be confidence that the Games will be delivered on budget for the upwardly revised figure.

Then it was doubts over the UK's ability to deliver a project of magnitude.

Sceptics had to be convinced following a history of failed bids and fraught public construction projects in London, most obviously Wembley Stadium and the Millennium Dome.

But now with the Olympic stadium taking shape and the other sporting venues sprouting up across the Olympic site - all ahead of schedule - there is renewed interest in the great project.

Public scrutiny has shifted to the venues themselves and what will be done with the Olympic facilities after the global jamboree has left town.


The nightmare scenario of the Sydney 2000 games where facilities fell into sorry disrepair and disuse has concentrated minds on the need to avoid the a herd of sporting white elephants.

An Olympic legacy park supremo with a track record in urban regeneration has been appointed and the plans, not least the much debated future of the main stadium, are eagerly a waited.

Another concern is that of grassroots sport with critics arguing that far from the Olympics acting as a driver for increased sporting participation, funds are being siphoned off from grass roots sport to shore up the cost of the games.

Olympic site
The building of the Olympic site

The argument goes that this is a double whammy with grassroots sport and local participation suffering with the likelihood that should the Olympics actually create a sudden public interest immediately post Games there will not be sufficient grass roots sports infrastucture to cash in on the 'halo effect.

But perhaps the great untold story thus far is the Paralympic Games. The Paralympians have been hugely successful, finishing first or second in the medal table in the last three Games.

In Beijing alone Paralympics GB won 42 gold medals. And the prospects that the medal haul in London exceeding Beijiing is high.

But the broadcast rights for the Paralympics have yet to be sold and should the Paralympics fail to get adequate coverage, the fear is that the Paralympians will become the Games' poor relations and the opportunity to spotlight disabled issues will be lost.

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