Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport


Q1.  What role will the Department play in the organisation of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in view of its funding commitment?

  The Government will provide £10.5 million towards the costs of the Opening and Closing ceremonies which will be an important showcase for the UK on the world stage. It will be for Manchester 2002 Ltd to determine the creative content of these events but DCMS officials will monitor the process to insure proper use is made of taxpayers' money; for example DCMS officials were present during the selection process for the event organiser.

Q2.  The Department's memorandum states that "positive lessons were learned from the staging of the Rugby World Cup about organising the transport infrastructure, ticket allocations and sales". What were the lessons and what role did the Department play in disseminating them?

  Whilst the Rugby World Cup was considered to be a successful and well attended event and received a good assessment from a tourism perspective from the Welsh Tourist Board, regrettably there were some difficulties in the areas of transport infrastructure, ticket allocation and sales. UK Sport's Major Events Steering Group who will ensure that the lessons learnt will be disseminated so that they are taken into account by the organisers of future major events hosted in the UK.

Q3.  What matters were discussed and what was achieved at the first meeting of the Government and Agencies Committee on 28 October?

  The Government and Agencies Committee machinery was set up as part of UK Sport's Major Events Strategy, in particular so that the events industry could link into Government. The meeting on 28 October 1999 agreed the Committee's terms of reference (copy attached) and discussed a wide range of key issues including developments on: the 2002 Commonwealth Games; the 1999 Rugby World Cup; the 2006 Football World Cup bid; bids for the 2003-05 World Athletics Championships; and a possible future Olympic bid. Future meetings of the Committee are to a large extent determined by the demands of the Steering Group. The next meeting of the Committee will take place on 20 February 2001. The Committee asked to see the minutes of the first meeting of the Committee. However, in order to encourage frank discussion and complete openness at the meeting of the strengths and weaknesses of the major sports events which have been held, we feel that the terms of the discussion should be afforded confidentiality.

Q4.  Does the Government have any plans for direct Government assistance to or involvement in the 2003 and 2005 athletics events?

  The Government believes running major sporting events is best left to the sports themselves and does not give any direct financial assistance to such events although UK Sport and Sport England have the power to do so if they so determine. UK Sport provided support for both bids. Whilst UK Sport will also support the staging of the 2003 athletics event, Sport England will provide support for staging the 2005 event. The Government will play a full and active part in assisting the organisers to deliver successful events. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport stands ready to assist in co-ordinating contacts across Government for the event organisers and, where necessary, to draw together those involved in assisting with the infrastructure required to stage the event. Thus for the 2005 World Athletics Championships the Secretary of State or the Minister for Sport chairs the Lee Valley Stadium Forum to enable all interested parties to exchange information and in addition, DCMS officials are in regular contact with UK Athletics, the Lee Valley Park Authority, the London Development Agency, London Borough of Enfield, Sport England, UK Sport, Middlesex University, the Mayor of London's office and other key agencies. UK Sport will draw on experience gained from staging major events and look to develop their support in the future; they anticipate that the Government and Agencies Committee will discuss this issue.

Q5.  What is the Department's view on the comments in paragraph 9 of the Commonwealth Games Federation's memorandum regarding Government underwriting of major events?

  The Government welcomes the Commonwealth Games Federation's acknowledgement of the extent and strength of the Government's commitment to the successful organisation of the 2002 Games. The Government believes that bids for major international events should be based on the firmest of financial plans, and that events should leave a legacy. This was one of our key reasons for fully supporting the launch of UK Sport's Major Events Strategy in 1999. In most cases it is primarily for the bidding city and relevant governing body to determine the extent of the benefits of staging the event and accordingly ensure that any risk in securing those benefits is underwritten. It was on this basis that Manchester City Council undertook, early in the bidding process, to underwrite the costs of the 2002 Games. Clearly, however, there is a major role for both central and local Government in ensuring that the infrastructure is in place which is capable of sustaining a successful event.

Q6.  Does the Government consider that the new IOC Games selection system meets the requirements set out earlier by the Government of a system which is seen to be transparent and honest and can enjoy the confidence of all bidding cities and of the entire Olympic movement?

  The Government has welcomed the IOC reforms of its selection criteria in so far as they have gone, and we particularly welcome the IOC requirement which now firmly commits bidding cities for the Olympic Games also to cover the arrangements for the Paralympics. However, the new procedures have not been sufficiently tested to enable anyone to state categorically that the system is transparent, honest and enjoys the confidence of the Olympic Movement and the public. In July, the successful bid for the host city of the 2008 Olympic Games will be announced. We will be paying close attention to how the new procedures operate.

Q7.  What action has the Government taken to prevent unauthorised hospitality at major sporting events?

  The issue of unauthorised hospitality is one primarily for the organisers of major events and the governing bodies concerned in order to protect the revenues of their event. The Government would not want to prevent those lawfully offering hospitality in the vicinity of a major sports event from providing services appreciated by those attending the event. However, the public does need to be protected from those unlawfully claiming to offer official hospitality linked to the event. Local trading standards officers will be responsible for monitoring this activity and it is in the interests of those staging major events to work closely with their local trading standards team.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 3 April 2001