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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 March 2008, 14:37 GMT
Concern over Scots games benefit
By Gilly Mathieson
BBC Scotland's Politics Show

At the national equestrian centre in West Lothian, Scotland's top showjumpers compete as they strive to gain a place in the national team.

Equestrian rider - generic
International athletes could train in Scotland for the London Olympics

The odds may be against a place in the 2012 Olympic squad, but they could still be riding alongside the world's top equestrians.

The facility is one of 28 centres across Scotland where international athletes will train in preparation for the games.

Andrew Hamilton, Scotland's leading showjumper, said: "When these other teams come here, a lot of my pupils will come and hopefully join in with the training and they will learn from different coaches."

A list of more than 600 locations across the UK will be sent to all national Olympic committees before competing teams choose where to send athletes - a move which will bring economic benefits.

Perhaps the attitude up to now has been a bit too negative about the opportunities for Scotland from the Olympics
Peter McMahon
Business journalist

Carson Jones, who runs the equestrian centre, said: "When the teams come here, they will pay for the facilities, they'll be based on-site and there will be potential for the local economy."

It will not be easy to draw international squads north to train, when most of the preparation centres are close to London.

But the agency Sportscotland has been planning a marketing strategy to target teams at the Beijing Olympics and attract them to Scotland.

As well as Scotland being allocated 5% of training camps, there is a 6bn pot of business on offer from Olympic authorities providing infrastructure for the games.

So far, 180 Scottish companies have shown interest. Football fans will be able to see matches at Hampden and officials have estimated the UK could see 2bn of tourist spending.

Games legacy

However, the Scottish Government does not accept there will be immense benefits from the London games.

Scotland stands to lose 150m, allocated from good causes like the Big Lottery Fund and Sportscotland, to go towards the final Olympic bill.

First Minister Alex Salmond has been lobbying to get this money back, but the voluntary sector fears this could get worse.

Holyrood ministers are focusing on securing cash to help deliver the legacy plans from Glasgow's hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

London 2012 Olympic stadium Artist's impression
There is 6bn on offer from Olympics infrastructure bosses

Peter McMahon, business editor of the Scotsman newspaper, said Scots businesses had the opportunity to earn far more than 150m when it came to the London Olympic effort, adding: "Perhaps the attitude up to now has been a bit too negative about the opportunities for Scotland from the Olympics."

Chris Robison, of the Scottish Sports Association, warned: "If we are going to make a legacy from London Olympics and the Commonwealth Games then we need local clubs, volunteers and facilities to be supported.

"Many of them rely on Lottery funding and indeed it's often through Lottery funding that organisations like local authorities and private business will match that funding and be able to create facilities."

Martin Sime, of the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, raised concern that a growth in sales of Olympic scratch cards, as opposed to ordinary Lottery scratch cards, would further hit good causes in Scotland.

The new Scottish legacy board will meet shortly to look at the combined opportunities that both the London and Commonwealth games could offer.

With more than 100 days to Beijing, it is perhaps too early to tell what the economic consequences will be for Scotland.

SEE ALSO
Salmond makes Olympic funds plea
15 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Blatter against British 2012 team
09 Mar 08 |  Football
Scots venues make athletes' guide
03 Mar 08 |  Scotland
'Tough choices' for sport funding
21 Nov 07 |  Scotland

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