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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 14:35 GMT
Ministers delay Olympic decision
Bringing the Olympics to London could cost as much as 4.5bn
A decision on whether Britain will bid for the Olympics in 2012 has been deferred for the second time.

The Government had planned to make an announcement on Thursday.

But the Prime Minister's spokesman said pressure of other business means cabinet ministers do not have enough time to discuss the Olympic bid.

The speculation is that it could be at least a couple of weeks before a decision is made.

British Olympic Association chief executive Simon Clegg said: "The BOA greets this news with bitter disappointment."

But Michael Ward, chief executive of the London Development Agency, said the decision was understandable.

"Whilst it is unfortunate the Cabinet have not been able to make a decision it is understandable they are devoting their time to discussing the current international situation and national security.

"The Government clearly recognises the need to make a decision on the Olympics soon and we hope that this can be achieved."

Polls suggest the public is in favour of attempting to bring sport's most prestigious event to London for the first time since 1948.

IOC chief Jacques Rogge
IOC chief Jacques Rogge welcomes a London bid

But fears about the cost and practicalities of hosting an Olympics have tempered their enthusiasm for a bid.

Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Tessa Jowell has estimated the cost of staging the Games at 2.5bn - with a warning that it could spiral to 4.5bn.

The BOA has said it will not bid without explicit government backing.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make its decision in 2005, with Madrid, New York and Moscow the only confirmed rivals so far.

The German Government is expected to make a bid, with Paris and Rio de Janeiro also likely to join the race.

London's European rivals will all make strong cases, but athletics chiefs have said a London bid would be welcome.

 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

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21 Nov 02 | Politics
24 Jan 03 | Sport Front Page
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