Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the British Olympic Association


  1.  The British Olympic Association (BOA) is the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It was formed in 1905 and at that time consisted of seven National Governing Body members. The BOA now includes as its members the thirty-five National Governing Bodies (NGB) of each Olympic sport. The BOA is one of two hundred NOCs currently recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The NOC is the BOA's decision and policy-making body and it elects the officers of the Association, the President (HRH the Princess Royal), the Chairman (Mr Craig Reedie) and two vice-Chairmen (Mr Albert Woods and Mr John James) each for a four-year term. The NOC also elects the BOA's Executive Board.

  2.  The head of the BOA's professional staff (Mr Simon Clegg) is the Chief Executive and also acts as Chef de Mission during the Olympic Games. The professional departments of the BOA include athlete services, appeals, education, finance, games services, information technology, legal, marketing, medical, press, sports science and technical.

  3.  The BOA's role is to develop and protect the Olympic movement in Great Britain and Northern Ireland in accordance with the Olympic Charter. The BOA is the sole body in the United Kingdom responsible for selecting, organising and leading the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic delegation at the Olympic Games, the Olympic Winter Games and the European Youth Olympic and Olympic Winter Days.

  4.  The BOA also delivers extensive elite level support services to Britain's Olympic athletes and to their National Governing Bodies throughout each Olympic cycle to assist them in their preparations for the Games and to improve their performance at the Games.

  5.  The BOA has established and runs steering and advisory groups composed of leading scientists and representatives from the NGBs on coaching, physiology, acclimatisation, exercise physiology, nutrition and biomechanics. The BOA runs multi-sports Olympic training camps for current and prospective Olympic athletes which in recent years have included camps in Australia—on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane, Orlando in Florida and for winter sports, in Lofer in Austria.

  6.  The BOA organises frequent seminars for team managers and runs Olympic bench-mark programmes to set standards for training facilities wishing to achieve an Olympic accreditation, and in this capacity the BOA is recognised as the technical arm of the United Kingdom Sports Council (UKSC). The BOA is also involved in the development and delivery of the Athlete Career and Education programme (ACE UK) and the Olympic and Paralympic Employment Network (OPEN). The BOA trains current and former Olympic athletes to deliver motivational goal setting courses to the next generation of Olympic athletes and the BOA Athletes Commission provides feedback to the BOA on the provision of services required for competitors in elite sport. The BOA has developed and runs an agency known as Talk Olympic for Olympic athletes, offering training and motivational speaking engagements for them within companies or other organisations. The BOA has also operated the British Olympic Medical Centre (BOMC) since 1987. The BOMC provides medical and sports science support for Olympic and potential Olympic athletes.

  7.  The BOA continues to be fully committed to providing technical support to Britain's elite athletes throughout the entire duration of each Olympic cycle, which not only benefits their competitive performances, but also assists in improving the health and confidence of the nation as a whole.

  8.  The BOA is one of only a handful of NOCs worldwide not to receive government or public finance. The BOA raises the money it needs by granting commercial sponsorship and licensing rights to companies and from nationwide appeals to the public and industry.


  9.  The BOA organised, managed and led the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia earlier this year. Great Britain won 11 gold medals, ten silver medals and seven bronze medals (a total of 28 medals in all). Great Britain was placed tenth in the medals table, which ranked all 199 countries competing at the Games. In terms of the number of gold medals won the Sydney Games represent Great Britain's most successful Olympic Games since the Antwerp Olympic Games in 1920 some eighty years ago.

  10.  No fewer than 98 personal bests were also set by British athletes at the Games.

  11.  The BOA under the Chef de Mission led the British delegation consisting of 320 athletes and 222 officials and support staff.

  12.  The CMS Select Committee in its Fourth Report into the "Staging of International Sporting Events" (dated 13 May 1999) (The "Fourth Report") "commended all those involved in securing and developing the facilities on the Gold Coast for the British Olympic Team. These facilities should improve the prospects for higher levels of performance by British competitors at the Sydney Olympics". The Select Committee was correct in its evaluation. The performances of Britain's competitors were enhanced by the facilities which the BOA secured, organised, managed and funded on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane. The feedback from the athletes using the BOA facilities on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane in 1999 and in the year 2000 prior to the Games indicated that the facilities, and the management and expertise available, were crucial in enabling them to perform at their best.

  13.  We feel we can be rightly proud of our contribution to the achievements of the Great Britain Olympic Team in Sydney, but we also acknowledge the important role played by the Government in developing, facilitating and ensuring the implementation of nationwide strategies to improve the sporting performance of Britain's elite level athletes.


  14.  Evidence suggests that countries staging major international sporting events such as the Olympic Games are more successful at home than abroad. For example, South Korea had won nine gold medals in the history of the modern Olympic Games prior to the staging of the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988. At their home Games, South Korea won 12 gold medals. Since then, South Korea has won 12 gold medals in 1992, seven gold medals in 1996 and eight gold medals in Sydney earlier this year.

  15.  Similarly, at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, Australia won seven gold medals and a total of 27 medals in all. At the Atlanta Olympic Games of 1996 Australia won nine gold medals and a total of 41 medals. Yet, at its home Games in Sydney earlier this year, Australia won 16 gold medals and a total of 58 medals, an increase of some 41 per cent on their total number of medals and a 77 per cent increase on gold medals.

  16.  The evidence suggests that staging an Olympic Games acts as a catalyst for improving a nation's future sporting success.

  17.  There are other substantial benefits for the host country including economic stimulation, boosts in tourism, creation of facilities for both elite competitors and the local community, increased media profile for sports (particularly those sports which might not otherwise receive attention), the raising of regional and national confidence and encouraging a sporting legacy. As the Committee commented in its Fourth Report, "the staging of the Olympics has the potential to provide a major boost to British sport as well as the potential to secure wider economic and social benefits for the United Kingdom as a whole."

  18.  There is also the un-quantifiable inspirational effect that witnessing world class competitors first-hand can have on spectators of all ages and abilities. Creating a sporting legacy for the athletes of tomorrow is as important as servicing the needs of the athletes of today.

  19.  The BOA continues to believe that international sporting events bring considerable gains to a nation. Indeed, the BOA agrees with the Select Committee in its analysis in its Fourth Report that "this country can not afford not to attract and stage international sporting events." The attached schedule sets out a list of Senior International sporting events in Olympic sports to be staged in the United Kingdom over the coming years.


  20.  The British Olympic Association would like to bring the Olympic Games to the United Kingdom and is committed to exploring the feasibility of such a project. The BOA policy remains that given the huge resources that would need to be employed, a future bid should only be made if there is a realistic chance of its success.

  21.  A British Olympic bid will only have a realistic chance of success if all the requisite elements in the bidding process are identified at an early enough stage and if the necessary steps are taken coherently and strategically at the right time.

  22.  A British Olympic bid is more likely to succeed if:

    (i)  international sporting events continue to be staged in the United Kingdom especially in Olympic sports;

    (ii)  there are long-term strategic plans to develop facilities and to improve elite level performances in all Olympic sports;

    (iii)  the substantial work required to undertake the bidding process is adequately funded, co-ordinated and commenced soon enough to comply with the IOC's strict bidding timetable;

    (iv)  the bid committee draws on the experience and best practice of other successful bid committees and host cities;

    (v)  the complex bidding process is carried out in accordance with the newly established structures and rules established by the IOC including strict compliance with the criteria set out in the Questionnaire for Cities Applying to Become Candidate Cities and with the Manual for Candidate Cities;

    (vi)  the bid is centred around London;

    (vii)  adequate plans are put in place prior to bidding to ensure that should the bid succeed, sufficient funding, resources and structures can be implemented, properly supported and that promises made in the bid can be delivered.


  23.  The Labour Party's 1997 General Election manifesto pledged "to bring the Olympics and other major sporting events to Britain". The Government's strategy "A Sporting Future for All" (April 2000) committed it to "supporting a viable bid for the Olympic Games" (p 48). The Conservative Party also gave its firm support for "UK bids to host major international sporting events" in its earlier blue paper "A Future for Sport" (section 10).

  24.  The Government has indicated (HC Debate 9 February 1999, Column 157W; Q75) that its support for a British Olympic bid will "depend on the introduction by the International Olympic Committee of a bidding system which is seen to be transparent, honest and can enjoy the confidence of all bidding cities as well as the entire Olympic movement itself". As the Committee pointed out in its Fourth Report "the prospects for a British Olympic bid hinge to some extent upon the outcome of the reform process within the IOC".

  25.  The bidding process for the election of the Host City for the Olympic Games has changed dramatically since the Committee's previous inquiry into the Staging of International Sporting Events. The critical elements of the new bidding and election procedure were adopted at the IOC Session in December 1999 and came into force on 12 December 1999. The new rules proscribe that:

    (i)  Only a city, the candidature of which is approved by the National Olympic Committee of its country can apply for the organisation of the Olympic Games. Any application to organise the Games must be made to the IOC by the prospective host City, with the approval of the relevant National Olympic Committee. The City and the National Olympic Committee are required to guarantee that the Games will be organised to the satisfaction of and under the conditions required by the IOC;

    (ii)  The Government of the country must guarantee to the IOC that the country will respect the Olympic Charter;

    (iii)  Any Candidate City must offer such financial guarantees as are considered satisfactory by the IOC Executive Board. Those guarantees may be provided by the City itself or by local, regional or national bodies or third parties;

    (iv)  The IOC requires the Host City and the National Olympic Committee of the country to enter into a written agreement specifying in detail the obligations incumbent upon them respectively. The responsibility of the National Olympic Committee of the Candidate City has been substantially reinforced. The NOC is now required closely and permanently to supervise and to be responsible for the actions and conduct of the Applicant or Candidate City. Not only must the NOC know everything about the application and as the case may be the candidature, but also the NOC must have the necessary authority to take such action as may be required. The BOA is therefore required to be placed at the very centre of any future bid from Great Britain with an obligation to enter into a formal contract with the IOC regarding the bidding process;

    (v)  All cities applying to become Candidate Cities to host the Olympic Games are now subject to a candidate acceptance procedure, conducted under the authority of the IOC Executive Board. The candidate acceptance procedure falls into two phases. The first or preliminary phase is conducted under the authority of the IOC Executive Board, during which phase applications are assessed on the basis of strict minimal requirements and in accordance with answers given in the "Questionnaire for Cities Applying to Become Candidate Cities". As a result of this process, the IOC Executive Board determines which Applicant Cities are to be accepted as Candidate Cities, therefore ensuring that only Candidate Cities capable of staging the Olympic Games based on objective criteria proceed to the final ballot;

    (vi)  The second phase involves only those cities accepted as Candidate Cities. An evaluation commission composed of representatives from International Federations, NOCs, the IOC, the IOC athlete's commission, the International Paralympic Committee as well as specialists, study the candidature of all Candidate Cities, inspect the sites concerned and submit a written report on all Candidate Cities to the IOC not later than two months before the opening date of the Session at which the election for host city for the Olympic Games is to take place. No member of the evaluation commission may be a national of a country which has a Candidate City for the Olympic Games. The IOC Executive Board, based upon the report of the evaluation commission, draws up the list of Candidate Cities to be submitted to the IOC Session for election. In other words, not all Candidate Cities will necessarily be submitted to the IOC Session;

    (vii)  The IOC Executive Board is bound by rules that state when assessing applications, certain objective criteria must be considered, including the ability of the Applicant and/or Candidate City and their country to host, organise and stage high level international multi-sports events, to comply with the Olympic Charter, the IOC code of ethics, the Olympic movement anti-doping code, the candidate acceptance procedure and all other rules, instructions and conditions which may be established by the IOC. The new rules for bidding cities, adopted by the IOC, provide that there may be no visits by or to IOC members and that no gifts may be given or received.

  26.  Applicant and Candidate Cities are guided in their preparations by the IOC's Manual for Candidate Cities which contains detailed explanations, recommendations, rules and obligations with which all Candidate Cities must abide.

  27.  As the Select Committee observed in its Fourth Report "If British bids are to success they have to operate in the context of the decision-making frameworks established by international sporting bodies". In this instance, in bidding for an Olympic Games, the Applicant City, the BOA and, to a certain extent the British Government, are all bound to comply with the IOC's framework and its fixed timetable.


  28.  If London were to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games (the earliest possible Games for which Great Britain would realistically be considered), the following fixed timetable would apply;

    (i)  September 2003—The IOC send invitations to National Olympic Committees to apply to host the 2012 Olympic Games;

    (ii)  February 2004—NOCs respond by letter with the name of a city. The IOC then provides details to the NOC and the City of the bidding process.

    (iii)  June 2004—The IOC receives replies from Applicant Cities to the "Questionnaire for Cities Applying to become Candidate Cities to Host the Games of the XXX Olympiad in 2012";

    (iv)  June-August 2004—Examination and evaluation of applications;

    (v)  August 2004—IOC Executive Board determines which cities are to be accepted as Candidate Cities. Also, publication of the IOC's "Manual for Candidate Cities for 2012";

    (vi)  January 2005—deadline for the receipt of Candidate City bid files;

    (vii)  May 2005—Evaluation Commission reports to the IOC;

    (viii)  September 2005—Election of host city for 2012 by the IOC Session.


  29.  Two clear points emerge from the timetable and decision-making framework. First, the BOA must work closely with the Applicant City to "supervise" and take "joint responsibility" for the bidding process. The Questionnaire and Manual require the bidding city to produce substantial and highly detailed technical information on financial guarantees, the infrastructure of the city, facilities and the transport networks built and to be built, and the legal and regulatory framework (including new legislation to be passed) to name but a few themes. Secondly, the timetable is fixed and short with the first deadlines fast approaching. There is much work to be done in order to comply and if a bid for a London Olympic Games is to be made, the necessary structures must be put in place, funding ear-marked and the further and more detailed feasibility studies commissioned, to enable a decision to be made.


  30.  The BOA continues to work closely with Government on progressing work towards a London Olympic bid. We acknowledge with thanks the support and encouragement we have received to date from Ministers and Officials. The BOA has also commenced its dialogue with other key stakeholders. A firm decision to bid for a London Olympic Games ought not to be taken until a) it is clear that there is unanimous stakeholder agreement to proceed and b) until the IOC has decided which city will host the Olympic Games for 2008. The IOC Session to decide the host city for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad is scheduled to be taken on 16th July 2001.

  31.  Only then will it become clear whether a European City has succeeded against the odds and whether another European City would have a chance of succeeding for 2012. However, much work must be done prior to July 2001 by the BOA, by Government and by other key stakeholders acting in partnership, in order to be able finally and confidently to decide whether or not to bid.

  32.  The BOA intends to submit its draft study to Government before the end of this year. The study continues as work in progress. The study remains in draft form as it remains provisional, and dependent upon Government and other key stakeholder support. Whether or not a London Olympic Games or indeed a bid for those Games is feasible is dependent on many factors not least of which is the Government's own commitment. The Government will see the draft study before the end of this year and will no doubt form its own views. Until such time, it would not be appropriate to publish the study, particularly as it contains highly sensitive commercial information.


  33.  The BOA continues to believe that a London Olympic Games would bring profound economic, cultural and sporting benefits to the whole of the United Kingdom for many generations to come.

  34.  The BOA will only endorse a London Olympic bid in partnership with the Government and other key stakeholders if the bid has a realistic chance of success.

  35.  If Britain is to host a London Olympic Games, and if the British Government has the same commitment to succeed as Sydney had in its bidding process, then London, the British Government, and the United Kingdom as a whole could enjoy the aura of success that now surrounds Sydney, the New South Wales Government and the whole of Australia.



2001World Half Marathon Championships Bristol
2003World Indoor Championships Birmingham
2003European Cross Country Championships Scotland
2005World Championships Picketts Lock, London
2000Welsh International Cardiff
2001All England Open Championships Birmingham
2001Scottish International Glasgow
2002All England Open Championships Birmingham
2001World Championships Belfast
2001World Marathon Championships Teesside
2000World Masters (track) Manchester
2000World Cup Mountain Bike Plymouth
2000World Track Championships Manchester
2003European Dressage Birmingham
2005European Dressage and show jumping (bidding) TBD
2004European Championships (women) TBD
2007World Championships Artistic Gymnastics (bidding) TBD
2000Women's Hockey Olympic Qualifier Milton Keynes
2000European Club Cup (A division) Cannock
2001World Cup Qualifier (men) Edinburgh
2002Champions Trophy Milton Keynes
Ice Hockey
2004World Championships (bidding) England
Ice Skating
2000World Speed Championships Sheffield
Modern Pentathlon
2001World Championships Millfield
2002World University rowing TBD
2004World Masters (bidding) TBD
2001FINA Swimming World Cup (bidding) Sheffield
2001FINA Diving Grand Prix (bidding) Manchester
2002FINA Swimming World Cup (bidding) Sheffield
2002FINA Diving Grand Prix (bidding) Southampton
2003FINA Swimming World Cup (bidding) TBD
2003FINA Diving Grand Prix (bidding) Sheffield
2004World Masters (bidding) Glasgow
2000Wimbledon Open Championships (yearly) London
2001Samsung Open International TBD
2002ATP Tour World Championships TBD
2004European Championships TBD
2005World Championships (bidding) TBD
2000World FinnWeymouth
2001World LaserCork
Multi-Sport Events
2002Commonwealth Games Manchester

December 2000

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Prepared 30 March 2001