BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
    
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 16:29 GMT
Now or never for London bid
Bringing the Olympics to London could cost 2.5bn
Bringing the Olympics to London could cost 2.5bn
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has admitted London may never again be able to stage the Olympics if it does not bid for the 2012 Games.

Jowell told a parliamentary inquiry that the conditions which made London suitable to host the Games in 2012 would disappear after that date.

But she insisted the government is still not ready to bankroll a bid, despite public support for the idea.

There is a silent Olympic majority who would like to see the Games back in this country for the first time since 1948

Simon Clegg
BOA chief executive

A government-commissioned opinion poll revealed on Wednesday that 81% of the British public wants Prime Minister Tony Blair to back a London bid for 2012.

Jowell, however, reiterated her view that the cost of staging the Games could outweigh their benefits, with funding being diverted away from areas like health and education.

"There is a judgement that in east London you have the synergy between the space required for an Olympic development and the regeneration opportunity," she said.

"It's also likely that after 2012 those sites will be developed for other purposes.

"That's a judgement rather than a fact, but there are judgements which favour that assumption.

"If you spend 2.5bn public money on the Olympics for all the positive reasons that's 2.5bn that won't be spent on other competing projects. That is fact."

'Hell for leather'

Jowell added that, while 2.5bn of public money would be needed to stage the games, the facilities it would create could be built for just 300m.

And she insisted her reservations about the cost did not automatically mean the government will refuse to get involved.

"If we do decide to go for it, we will go hell for leather," she said.

Sports Minister Richard Caborn said his visits to other host cities had provided warnings of spiralling costs.

"In broad terms, all of them have nearly doubled from the figure first given," said Caborn.

"It saps resources and leads to bad press because it's costing more than people first said."

However, the British Olympic Association demanded the government back the bid plans in light of the public support revealed by the ICM opinion poll.

BOA chief executive Simon Clegg said: "We have always felt that there is a silent Olympic majority who would like to see the Games back in this country for the first time since 1948 and through this poll they have spoken."

A final government decision on whether to back a bid will be made when the cabinet meets on 30 January.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell
"This is a very tough choice"
 IOC President Jacques Rogge
"London has a good chance of success"
 Olympic rowing champion Matthew Pinsent
"It would be a horrendous shame not to bid"
 VOTE RESULTS
Should London bid for the 2012 Olympics?

Yes
 67.55% 

No
 32.45% 

8763 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Latest news

Expert comment

Analysis

Have your say

Click here to go to BBC London Online
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Sport Front Page stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sport Front Page stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales