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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK

Beckham logo causes a stir

Commonwealth Games organisers described the opening ceremony as the "biggest party" Manchester has ever seen.

However, they admitted their surprise in seeing David Beckham defy a ban on sponsors' logos on his tracksuit.

The organisers had ruled that athletes could not display their own logos, but were caught out by the England football captain's surprise appearance in a custom-made adidas outfit.

Manchester 2002's communications director Jackie Brock-Doyle said: "We were not aware he was going to have adidas across his chest, though we knew he was having a special suit made.

"The cast and audience lifted that stadium to make it the biggest party this city has ever seen"
Creative director Sue Woodward

"We did have a no-logo rule for athletes, but the most important thing is that it did not conflict with any of our sponsors."

Beckham was a key performer in a lavish ceremony watched by nine million viewers on the BBC.

And the success of the two-and-a-half hour extravaganza has buoyed organisers, who were also celebrating the smooth running of the transport infrastructure they have created.

"We were absolutely delighted at the way the ceremony went. It all went according to plan," said creative director Sue Woodward.

"It was a spectacular that would have surprised the world.

"There was a BBC television audience of nine million in the UK and ceremonies like this are not usually watched in those numbers.

"The cast and audience lifted that stadium to make it the biggest party this city has ever seen."

The opening ceremony increased the demand for tickets, with 2,000 bought between midnight and 0900 BST on Friday and all seats for the athletics events are now sold out.

Woodward would not even let criticism of the state of the city centre, most notably Piccadilly Station, dampen her mood.

Manchester's main rail terminus is only partly finished and various parts of the city resemble building sites.

"There has been a vast improvement in Piccadilly. They've done a good job," she declared.

More than 20,000 people travelled to the City of Manchester Stadium by public transport.

Although Keith Howcroft, of Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, conceded that "bigger challenges" lay ahead.

The most notable problem on the horizon is a planned 48-hour strike affecting First North Western trains, due to start on Sunday.

Mr Howard revealed "continued negotiations" were in progress and that in the event of a strike, efforts would be made to run sometrains while replacement bus services would be laid on.


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