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Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 18:55 UK

Boxing chiefs voice 2012 concerns


2012 boxing may move to Wembley

By Mike Henson

James DeGale
James DeGale claimed middleweight gold in Beijing

Plans to relocate London 2012's Olympic fights to Wembley Arena in the north-west of the city have been opposed by the International Boxing Association.

AIBA officials found the commute from the athletes' village in Stratford could take up to three hours.

Bouts are currently due to be held in ExCel Centre around five miles away.

"We are working with [the organising committee] to find a solution. We have expressed our concern," AIBA's Richard Baker told BBC Sport.

Baker added that discussions were ongoing, saying: "Nothing has been signed, sealed and delivered as yet."

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) had hoped to shift boxing matches to allow badminton and rhythmic gymnastics to be staged at the ExCel, saving around £20m by scrapping plans for a 6000-seat temporary venue called North Greenwich Arena 2 to the south of the main Olympic site.

But a group of AIBA officials found that, even allowing for specially designated traffic lanes, estimates of journey times of 35 to 45 minutes were overly optimistic.

"After trialling the journey themselves, our officials found that, depending on the time of day, it would take between one and three hours," added Baker.

"We want to protect boxers' Olympic experience. It becomes a major concern when some delegations, made up of coaches and officials, have to make several trips in one day with different fighters."

The International Olympic Committee must secure AIBA's approval for any change in venue and some fear the relocation may stretch the organisers' promise to have a compact, "athlete-friendly" Games for the 286 fighters due to compete.

Denis Oswald, the chairman of the IOC's co-ordination committee, praised London's preparations and the organisers' budgeting after his latest inspection visit in April.

London 2012 chief Lord Coe gave his backing to the idea of moving to Wembley, saying it fits with a mission statement of the Londion bid for the Games.

"It's worth remembering what our departure point was: where possible, use existing facilities - particularly those of an iconic nature - rather than building temporary [ones]," he told BBC London.

"And in this climate I think that's probably a sensible way to have approached it."

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see also
Wembley may stage Olympic boxing
23 Apr 09 |  Olympics
London 2012 'on time and budget'
23 Apr 09 |  London
IOC to check on London's progress
20 Apr 09 |  Olympics
Olympics 2012 venue guide
03 Dec 08 |  Olympics
Olympic projects receive bail-out
21 Jan 09 |  UK News
Gavin claims historic world title
03 Nov 07 |  Boxing
Amateur boxing explained
01 Mar 06 |  Boxing
Boxing jargon guide
13 Dec 05 |  Get Involved

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TSN Boxing's governing body rejects 2012 venue change - 41 hrs ago
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