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Monday, 2 December, 2002, 12:23 GMT
Princess Anne backs Olympic bid
Princess Anne with Juan Antonio Samaranch
Princess Anne competed in the Olympics in 1976
The Princess Royal publicly given her backing to London's potential bid to hold the 2012 Olympic Games.

Princess Anne broke with royal protocol to support the capital's attempt to host the event at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Mexico City.

Her comments could put pressure on the government, which has yet to get behind the games, to do the same.

Proposals to hold the Olympics in London are due to be debated in parliament - Princess Anne was expected to remain silent on the subject because the monarchy is obliged to be apolitical.

Royal protocol

Instead she spoke up for Britain's bid after suggestions Chancellor Gordon Brown is not in favour of hosting the games.

It is thought Mr Brown does not want to spend large amounts of money, the government is being asked to contribute 6m to the 13m cost of putting in a bid, on the event in the face of other demands on the public purse.

A recent report by Arup consultants put the cost of staging the games at 2bn.

Princess Anne
The Princess is a member of the IOC

The Princess was quoted by the Guardian newspaper as saying: "The sports are unanimous about supporting a bid and as the British Olympic Association president I am happy to go along with that.

"There is a level of expectation, with the publication of the report, of what London has to offer.

"People can see this is not just the sports people coming out and saying 'isn't this good'."

She added: "Now we have to wait until we find out what the government's response is - we have done the homework and we can only do so much."

Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Tessa Jowell and Sports Minister Richard Caborn have been on a fact-finding tour of other Olympic cities to decide whether a bid should go ahead.

Final decision

They are expected to make a recommendation to the cabinet next month.

Applications to host the games have to be in by next July, and the International Olympic Committee will announce its final decision in 2005.

New York City and Moscow have already said they will apply, and some 16 other cities, including Paris, have yet to decide.

Princess Anne, who represented Britain in the three-day event at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 is a member of the IOC.

London's potential bid for the 2012 games has already attracted the support of London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the city's Labour MPs and the Liberal Democrats.


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