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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 May, 2003, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Can London host the Olympics?

BBC Sport takes a look at the factors that will make or break London's chances of hosting the 2012 Olympic Games.


Can London make it a success?

Backing:
The British Olympic Association is very keen on bidding to host the Games in London.

But without the support of the British government, London's bid would be dead in the water.

The money spent on the failed bid for the 2006 football World Cup will have left the British Government cautious.

Affordability:
The Games are expected to cost around 1.8bn to stage, with 1bn being refunded by the IOC.

Any London bid is likely to cost the Treasury 494m.

The event could make up to 79m, or a loss of up to 145m, depending on tourism.

Private sponsors could help fund the Games - but they would need to be convinced that risks are low.

There has been some suggestion the Government might announce a special lottery to help generate funds to pay for it.

Legacy:
If London were to stage the Games, what would be left behind for the local community?

After 2012 this would include: an 80,000-seat stadium in east London and a warm-up track, and an Olympic village to house 16,000 athletes, coaches and officials.

This could be a major stumbling block - the Millennium Dome is still fresh in the memory.

But a stadium could be inherited by a football club, in the same way that Manchester City will soon move to the City of Manchester Stadium, the venue for the Commonwealth Games.

With land in London at a premium, it has also been suggested that the Olympic village could be turned into affordable accommodation.


Is London a practical choice?

This is the key question - can London stage the Games and will everything be ready on time and within budget?

Planning for the Games would have to survive at least three Parliamentary elections and two London mayoral terms.

There is still plenty of time to build the stadium and the athletes' village.

But how much time will be spent on the planning stage, and how long will it take to secure funding?

The redevelopment of Wembley stadium took eight long years.

Transport too could be a problem.

The City of Manchester Stadium, venue for the 2002 Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games were a big hit

Crossrail - a planned rail link between west and east London - is currently under close scrutiny from Transport Secretary Alistair Darling.

Transport congestion in the capital means that, without Crossrail, London's bid would surely be doomed.

Heathrow and Gatwick airports are lengthy journeys to the proposed site, but east London's City Airport is well placed.

The cross-Channel Eurostar train service also takes visitors into the heart of London.

Britain has also proved in recent years that it can successfully host a major international event - the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the 1996 European football championships, were successes.


Will the IOC vote for London?

The International Olympic Committee is believed to be in favour of hosting the 2012 Games in Europe.

But how strong will London's bid be compared to expected bids by Paris, and Madrid? New York is also likely to make a strong case.

In its favour, several high-profile IOC delegates have voiced their support for any London bid including Jacques Rogge.

But there are 128 IOC members who will vote on the host city.

It has also been pointed out that very few cities win the first time they bid, and that London should make a bid but focus their attentions on hosting the 2016 Games.

The collapse of Britain's efforts to host the 2005 athletics World Championships may also dissuade the IOC from backing London.

However, Britain can point to the Commonwealth Games and Euro '96 as evidence that it can successfully host a major international sporting event.




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