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Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 08:53 GMT
Should London host the Olympics?
London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics comes under scrutiny on the grounds of cost.
Should the proposal go ahead - or could the money be better spent elsewhere?
The Olympic bid is set to be debated by MPs.
The government is being asked to contribute £6m to the £13m cost of putting on the event in the face of other demands on the public purse.
Despite high-profile backing for the bid, doubt has been cast because of the already groaning infrastructure in the capital.
And a government-commissioned study is likely to conclude that the UK's chances of securing the games are slim because of its record on the Millennium Dome and new Wembley stadium, etc.
Are you backing the bid?
This debate is now closed. See below for a selection of your e-mails.
3. Why spend hundreds of millions more when the whole cost goes way over budget.
4. Do we want to give Osama and co a excuse to attack London.
5. Why bother, from what I've heard the Americans want the thing. We'd lose anyway.
I personally think it would be a waste of money to bid for the Olympic Games. Personally Paris or New York (especially after Sept 11th) would be ideal. I would love to see Britain put full effort into hosting the World Cup. We have the best stadia in the world, where the game was invented, plus we won't have to qualify!
The money argument is nonsense. The NSW state government paid for the last Olympic Games, with only £100m from the National Government. The expenditure was carefully spread over seven years and accounted for less than one percent of the state budget. No debt was left at the end. The income from TV rights, sponsorships and extra tax revenue generated more than covered costs.
It is possible to have hospitals, schools AND great sport facilities, and an advanced nation should be expected to have all these facilities. If Kuala Lumpar, Brisbane, Melbourne, Busan for example could host an Olympic games with a years notice, what the hell is going on in Britain? It is just a matter of priorities.
Even if you don't take into account the prestige of hosting the Olympics there is plenty to gain. Look at how much the local economy and transport infrastructure have benefited in Sydney and even in Manchester from when it hosted the Commonwealth Games. It would be mad not to make an Olympic bid.
By all means let London have a go, but at their expense, please. After all the fuss about Wembley, where on earth would the money for an Olympics stadium come from? Anyway, the Olympics are highly over-rated. How many people actually go and pay to watch athletics/rowing/shooting etc.? A new Olympics stadium would be a huge white elephant.
If the Government mess this up as badly as they did the Dome, how bad are we going to look to the rest of the world? I do wonder if this is why the Government are playing the pessimist line on this one. If we do it, let's do it properly!
I would love to see the Olympics come to the UK. Unfortunately I can't see it happening. Look at all the problems we've had redesigning Wembley!
I would support a bid from anywhere else in the UK as it would be a way of equalising the balance of public expenditure away from London and be much cheaper to stage. Olympics are not usually held in capital cities, the last three haven't been.
Typical, when Manchester bids for the Olympics they have to do it all off their own backs. Now London wants it there's talk of massive funding from the lottery. Hasn't the capital had enough? How much lottery money did the Dome cost? It's time the government learned that there is life outside London.
Where does the amount of £2.5bn come from? Is this the loss that would be incurred or the actual cost, prior to the enormous amount of corporate sponsorship money received as well as the spending by the thousands of visitors prior to, during and after the Olympics? The Sydney Olympics made a very small loss despite having to build practically all of the stadiums and a huge improvement in infrastructure. London would be the perfect location for the Olympics and is exactly what the city and the people of the UK need. The 2000 Sydney Olympics transformed the entire nation!
I think that Great Britain NEED to host the Olympics. British athletes would make a very good account competing at home and this would foster the competitive spirit throughout the country. It would also force the government to improve its infrastructure problems.
London should not place a bid for the Olympics. It would be better off being held by Sheffield in the Don Valley Stadium or in Manchester where the Commonwealth games were held.
I love London, arguably the best city in the world. But the Olympic? You must be joking !
By all means London should have a shot at it. Why not? It is a very good city, one of the greatest. That's why I keep going back. Maybe it would provide an excuse to sort out the infrastructures once and for all. I'm sure you would all be very proud to have it go ahead, it is pretty exciting to have it happen around you. Go for it London!
Perhaps if London bid for the Olympics it might just provide the focus needed to sort out the current fiasco with sports: Wembley Stadium, the rail system, the brown field inner city spaces. Visitors might then travel out of London to the rest of the UK and discover that while London is very fine, more of England and Scotland, Wales and N.I. exists!
If London is to hold the Olympics where would the athletics go? A huge stadium would have to be built in London and would probably be converted to a football stadium. All the extra traffic would be no good for London either, it's bad enough as it is. As much as I would love the 2012 Olympics to be in London I don't think it would be able to cope.
As a UK citizen, I think that the more major sporting events that are brought to this country the better. Standards in sports only rise when you play against the best and the Olympics would certainly provide a great target for Britain's competitors to aim at.
However, it will all come back to money and whether we have the financial ability to host such a global event as the Olympics. In order to provide the best facilities I would suggest that work on Wembley should be stopped immediately and the plans revised to provide one super stadium which would be capable of hosting the Olympics.
The basics of the stadium are already there and it would only require some government input of cash to increase both size and facilities. London does not really need another massive stadium.
Yes, London should bid! Two billion is nothing when the government decided to waste so much money on the 'dome'. Why can't they start paying out for things that will help this Country rather than taking away from it al the time?
London would be a fantastic city to successfully stage an Olympic Games. A successful bid would allow us to build and upgrade existing venues and facilities. If we are to compete on a world stage in both commerce and sport we need to host world events.
Simon Cove, UK
What chance do we stand against Paris, also bidding? They already have three world class stadia and we have a hole in the ground. And as for infrastructure!
Yes I think London should put in a bid for the 2012 Olympics, if we even equal the fantastic set up and running of the Commonwealth Games we will be onto a winner.
We should not host an Olympics. There are many other major problems in this country such as crime, healthcare and education which are crying out for resources, and to throw hundreds of millions at one event is a waste of money. That money should be spent building more prisons, repairing the health service and enhancing the education system.
I think the Picketts Lock fiasco says it all. Don't bother putting in a bid. We will be laughed at by the IOC. And incidentally, what is the point of incorporating an athletics track into the new Wembley Stadium if a new Athletics stadium will be built if the Olympics are to be staged here?
Come off it! Let's concentrate on improving the absolutely disgraceful Underground first!
Why should the Government give their financial backing to this bid? Birmingham had no national funding at all for the 1992 games. Let the London bid struggle like what we did then. Thanks London. Give it to New York.
There are far more important things the government could spend the cash on! The health service, education & public transport to name but a few.
If London wants the Olympics, then let Londoners pay for it. Ken Livingstone and the rest should fund it out of their council tax. After all, when the games have finished, it is London and not Britain that will benefit from the exposure and the facilities.
Having attended the Sydney Olympics, all I can about London is 'Forget it!' The Aussies are a sporting nation where as Britain is predominantly a football nation. Sydney put all it's energies behind the games and I can't see London doing that. Many Aussies took holiday during the games to enjoy it or volunteer, Londoners would probably only complain about the added difficulties of getting to and from work!
East London is more than capable of holding the Olympics. There are large amounts of disused space in a relatively central location. Excellent transport will be available with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, expansions to City airport, DLR extension and Cross Rail, all minutes from the site. With the huge amounts of public and private money poring into the area, London 2012 would be spectacular, giving our country and capital the credibility it deserves. If Athens can do it, so can we!
It has already been widely reported that New York will claim the Olympics in 2012. This bid from London is a waste of money, and I am sure Londoners would agree there are a million different things the sum which will be spent on failure could be spent on. Housing, education, transport, etc, etc. need I go on?
Olympic Games! You are kidding it sounds like champagne taste on a beer budget. London can't even afford to keep all its fire trucks running. When will politicians get it right? Build a permanent site for the Olympics in Greece.
If London bids, I really hope it does well. After Manchester did so well, I would hate London to go and stuff it all up for us. One thing I will say, in the time it took for London to get plans for a new Wembley, redraw them, faff over money, and shut Wembley down, Manchester bid, and got the Commonwealth Games. They also built the stadia, ran the Games, had a party, and still came out with loose change in the pocket.
James Garden, UK
Dirty, congested, crime ridden London has no right to bid for the Olympics. I doubt whether any of the public amenities are up to the job of supporting such an event, transport certainly is not. But you can rest assured that should it ever happen then already ridiculous hotel prices will go through the roof.
No! If the developers mess up the whole country will be a laughing stock of the world. If you look at the other bids, Paris, New York, Madrid, these places have sex appeal and rich images of culture. London has the underground. Enough said.
As usual everyone starts moaning about our Olympic bid. Reading all these pessimistic views, doesn't it just make you proud to be British! If there was an Olympic event for moaning we would get Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Host the Olympics, yes, but in London, no. Why put it in London when there are far better places in the country? Its typical of London based officialdom to think that the rest of the country is not capable of holding this kind of event when in fact the rest of the country is far better than London. Look at the mess that is Wembley, it's the most expensive stadium ever and not the largest. Why? Birmingham would be a far better city to support a bid.
Of course Britain should bid for the Olympics. This prestigious event is too good an opportunity to miss and the benefits are enormous. Not only will Britain and London be in the spotlight for the lead up and duration of the Games, bringing in thousands of tourists and much needed revenue; but a large area of East London will be given a good clean up and superb transport links which will benefit the area for years to come.
As a loyal British subject living in New Zealand who visits London every year. I find it very amusing that London seems to think it could hold the Olympics. Nothing they do runs or finishes on time. 2012 would come a go before they got there act together.
Do we have to cover the same ground again in this discussion? The IOC have made it absolutely clear that the ONLY city in the UK they will ever consider for an Olympic bid is London.
Manchester was a superb advertisement for hosting sporting events in this country, and its success is something to be proud about, but Manchester will never host an Olympics.
Instead of complaining about London bias, anyone who cares about sport in this country should get behind a bid that could bring a world sporting event here for the first time since 1966. That is far, far too long for a country with our sporting history to go without a World Cup or Olympics.
London was a great city but has now descended into a squalid and fractured capital. By contrast the major cities outside the South East are clean, bright, vibrant and exciting places to be.
Manchester illustrated the difference between the stressed, polluted and overpopulated South East and the cool, trendy, reborn North of England.
To be considered fit to host an Olympic Games London must be reborn - perhaps another Great Fire would do it?
Seriously though, the city would need a proper transport infrastructure and policy, new sports facilities in locations people can get to and an attitude change.
I lived for 12 years in Montreal, paying taxes to cover the continuing debt for the 1976 Olympics that had ended three years before I moved to the city. There are people in Montreal now who weren't even born when the Olympics took place, who have been paying these taxes for years.
London should do everything possible to evade the Olympics - and don't believe anyone who tries to tell you that there will be no cost.
I agree we have a poor record for this sort of thing, but this is an ideal opportunity to put things right. Football at Wembley, tennis at Wimbledon, new athletics stadium, etc. Let's get the government behind it and be positive instead of sticking the knife in before we've even started.
Incidentally, having spent a lot of time in Australia in the build up to the Sydney Olympics, I can tell you it was not all plain sailing and the press routinely criticised the government for its involvement. A few years later, it is regarded as the most successful games in history. Our country and our media should learn from this and stop being so negative all the time.
It must be allowed to go ahead. If we are to be seen as a major global player, we must be able to put on events such as the Olympics and the World Cup. If we don't, we are going to fall behind.
Why should London get the Olympics? Birmingham attempted to get the 1992 Olympiad and Manchester attempted to secure the following few. One of the reasons given was that they did not have sufficient international profile, so why not have a joint bid by the likes of Liverpool and Manchester who could pool their resources together? The stadium is already there; the Rivers Mersey and Dee would provide a spectacular location for the rowing, sailing and canoeing events.
Gordon Brown and Tessa Jowell have no right to decide on whether or not Great Britain bids for the Olympic Games. Is it not time that the whole nation, including politicians of all parties, united to produce something of which we can all be proud? This is an opportunity for us to stand up and be seen as a great 21st century nation. If we don't take it, all we can hope to achieve is to further damage our worldwide reputation.
It should be held somewhere else in the UK. I am a London resident and am also embarrassed by the capital. Dirty, expensive and late are three words you can apply to anything in London!
Has anybody thought about the regeneration the Olympics could bring to the part of east London where the Olympic stadium would be built? Look how Manchester has gone from strength to strength after the Commonwealth games and think about the benefits the Olympics could bring to London. Manchester proved the critics wrong; maybe London could do the same?
The government should not waste any more money or time on fruitless bids to hold major sports events, when there are far more urgent priorities.
All this talk of how wonderful Manchester and the Commonwealth Games were misses one big point. The facilities in Manchester are not up to Olympic standard.
Why not? OK, so building an 80,000 seat stadium for the Commonwealth Games might have been overkill but why build an eight lane swimming pool when the Olympics requires 10? As things stand Manchester has no chance of hosting the Olympics. A bit of foresight when planning the Commonwealth facilities, however, and it would have been the ideal choice.
I hate to see so many people giving up and whinging about how we could not stage a good Olympics, hopefully this is the normal weak minority of giver uppers making the most noise. How will we ever succeed in doing anything in this country if we give up before we've even started?
Of course London could make a fantastic Olympics, all we have to do is apply ourselves properly and work together, the spirit of the silent majority of people in this country will see to that.
Why in the world does London think it could host the Olympics, when it can't even open a bridge on time? Trains can't run on time, the government fails miserably at holding a New Year's Eve party, so instead it refuses to hold one at all.
If you want to see the Olympics come apart at the seams, then by all means, hold it in London! It should be rather amusing, trainloads of athletes delayed due to leaves on the lines, or perhaps passengers loading too slowly. The stadiums required will be finished a year after the deadline, because this is how London does things. And we'll have the joy of paying for all this! I'd rather see it go to a more deserving city. London is an embarrassment as a capital city.
Why should it be a London bid? The Olympics do not have to be held in the capital. Look at Atlanta, Los Angeles, Barcelona and Sydney.
The bidding city needs to have a good infrastructure, London does not have it. Somewhere more central to the country would be suitable, preferably next to some of the major motorways like Birmingham or Manchester.
London can't even erect a stadium, let alone host an Olympics. The Millennium Dome and Wembley aren't good projects to have on your CV.
I was amazed to read that one of the reasons the BOA is confident that London's bid could succeed was because Manchester's Commonwealth Games went so well and were praised by the IOC. Surely that means Manchester has proved it could host the Olympics. London couldn't even put on a New Year party.
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