The Olympics

The Olympics

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News, information and stories about the 2016 Brazilian Olympic Games and the Olympics in general.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Soccer Dopes

It seems that soccer may be pushed out of the Olympics, unless it cleans up its doping rules.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled that FIFA, soccer's world governing body, is not compliant with the rules of the code issued by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). WADA dictates doping policy for all 35 Olympic sports federations.

FIFA adopted the WADC at its Congress in 2004, but WADA has ruled that soccer hasn't changed its rules to be in line with the code.

Soccer is so mired in scandal (eg bungs), I am not in the least surprised that they have not "managed" to bring their doping rules up to date.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Olympic Omelet

You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs, or so the old saying goes. That certainly seems to be the case with the Beijing Olympics.

Beijing's mayor has called for a speeding up of the demolition of impoverished neighborhoods in Beijing, as part of preparations for the 2008 Olympics.

Mayor Wang Qishan told officials and construction workers that demolishing the dilapidated neighborhoods is an essential task this year, and that the work must be accelerated.

Beijing is undergoing a thorough makeover for the 2008 Games. It is estimated that the cost of refurbishment will top $40BN. This will cover the costs of new sporting venues, new roads and subway lines and the new build of residential communities in the suburbs.

One area of reconstruction is aimed at the poorer areas known as "inner city villages", there many homes have been built illegally and many of whose residents are rural migrants.

It is reported that about a third of these areas designated for destruction have been torn down, with the rest to be finished by year's end.

Wang is quoted as saying:

"This work is full of significance in strengthening the environment, building a livable city and realizing the strategic plan of a 'New Beijing, Great Olympics'."

Quite what the residents of these soon to be demolshed homes think is not reported. I assume that the corporate sponsors of the Olympics are happy with this non reporting?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The London Levy

The row over the levy being imposed on Londoners to pay for the 2012 Olympics is heating up.

Lord Sebastian Coe, head of the London Olympics, has entered the row.

He has written a letter to Bexley Council leader Councillor, Chris Ball. In the letter Lord Coe stressed that Londoners' cash is not being used to build Olympic facilities.

Bexley has been the heart of a campaign opposed to the council tax levy imposed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone for the next 10 years, to help meet the bill for the 2012 Games.

A petition is being raised to oppose the levy, which will be taken to Downing Street.

The campaign claims the levy is unfair because it is making Londoners help pay for the Games and underwrite any losses, while the benefits will be felt across the country.

Lord Coe claims that Londoners' cash will be used to finance improvements to London's infrastructure, and provide a legacy for present and future generations of Londoners.

Quote:

"We have to plan now for the type of community which will be living in the area in 25 years.

We need to plan the infrastructure, the utilities and the telecommunications now if we are to have a modern, diverse and integrated community for our children and their children
."

The anti levy spokesman, John Flunder, retorted saying that Lord Coe had not said anything Londoners did not already know.

Quote:

"The infrastructure of east London was already earmarked for development whether or not London won the Olympics.

But Londoners have also been committed to share any losses from the Games with the Lottery.

And Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has refused to cap London's contribution, so we are facing an unknown bill at the end of the Games
."

As often noted, the Olympics are not about sport but about money.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Chaos Threatens British Olympics

The 2012 Olympics in London are, according to some, being threatened by the chaos at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Dame Sue Street, permanent secretary at the department, left amid accusations that she clashed with Tessa Jowell, culture secretary.

Dame Sue was questioned by Sir Gus O'Donnell, cabinet secretary, as to whether Ms Jowell had breached the ministerial code by failing to declare a $600K gift received by Mr Mills from an Italian source in 2000.

The Cabinet Office said that it was "appalled by the suggestion that Sue Street left for any other reason than her desire to pursue other goals".

Hugo Swire, shadow culture secretary, accused the culture department of trying to "bury this news" by announcing it on its website on a Friday afternoon during the Easter recess.

Quote:

"This is just the latest proof of the chaos and disarray in Tessa Jowell's department. Criticism of licensing, confusion over gambling, delays over Wembley, let alone the problems caused by Ms Jowell's personal position - all point to the chaos enveloping her department.

With her top civil servant jumping ship, very real questions are now raised [about] the ability of Tessa Jowell's department to [stay] focused on delivering the 2012 Olympics
."

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Olympics To Bring Prosperity

According to Tony Blair the London Olympics in 2012 will bring prosperity.

During the launching of a charity website yesterday, he said:

"Six years of wrangling, one year of blind panic, two weeks of glory and an endless period of repentance at leisure. Welcome to the Olympics. We are going to show that there is another story to be told."

Adding:

"The Olympics can be a catalyst for the city which will be its host. It can inspire new infrastructure, school and hospital buildings, new housing, the regeneration of derelict sites.

We could inspire economic prosperity that is sustained long after the closing ceremony and which will pay for the games many, many times over
."

I wonder how many times that politicians have said that about the Games?

For sure there will be some people who do very well out of the large sums of government money and sponsorship deals that will be sloshing around.

However, as to whether the good people of London notice a dramatic change (aside from increased traffic congestion, building sites and rocketing property prices in East London) remains to be seen.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Beijing On Track

Construction work for the 2008 Beijing Olympics is on track, with construction of all venues underway two years before the start of the Games.

That at least is the conclusion of the International Olympic Committee, whose chief inspector Hein Verbruggen issued a statement yesterday:

"BOCOG (Beijing Games Organising Committee) shows steady and strong involvement and achieves good progress in all fields of Games preparation.

We therefore look to the path to 2008 with great confidence.
"

The operational budget for the Games is about US$2BN. However, another $40BN has been budgeted to upgrade Beijing's infrastructure and tackle pollution before the opening ceremony in August 2008.

Tu Mingde, BOCOG president assistant, is quoted as saying:

"The preparations have been going smoothly and well on schedule.

It (operational budget) will be much higher than the amount we had in the bid file
."

The Chinese authorities expect the cost of the Games to be tax neutral.

Monday, April 3, 2006

£100M Funding Gap

It seems that, despite the enthusiasm of the politicians, there is a £100M funding gap in the finances of the 2012 London Olympics.

Indeed, it is expected that this figure may in fact grow.

The precise costs of the Games are unlikely to be known until after they have been held. However, some estimates are already being made.

UK Sport have come up with the £100M figure, which is hoped to be plugged by the private sector.

This will not be so easy, as company sponsorship is limited to individual Olympic sports rather than individual sportsmen; companies prefer to sponsor individuals rather than sports.

There also seems to be some confusion as to who is meant to be raising this money. UK Sport's performance director, Liz Nicholl, has said that her body are "not experts in raising money" and it would, she believes, "be inappropriate to divert our energies into that. Sponsorship is not our core business."

A very British confusion and reluctance to talk about money, may well scupper these games.