Memorandum submitted by the Commonwealth
1. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF)
is responsible for the direction of and control of the Commonwealth
Games. The Federation is the supreme authority in all matters
concerning the Commonwealth Games. The vision is to promote a
unique, friendly world class Games every four years. It is also
to develop sport for the benefit of the peoples, the nations and
the territories of the Commonwealth, and thereby strengthen the
Commonwealth. At present, 72 Commonwealth Games Associations (CGA)
are affiliated to the Federation, including seven from the United
Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey
and the Isle of Man).
2. The next Commonwealth Games will be held
in Manchester from 25 July to 4 August 2002.
3. The Federation was grateful for the invitation
to give evidence to the Committee, and the Chairman, Michael Fennell,
and past Honorary Secretary, the late David Dixon, were examined
on 25 March 1999. The comments in this memorandum supplement the
evidence provided then, in the light of the preparations for the
4. The level of support from the UK Government
has been impressive. There is little doubt that the personal support
of the Prime Minister has been extremely helpful to the Organising
5. The establishment of the Commonwealth
Ministerial Task Force, chaired by Rt Hon Ian McCartney MP, Minister
for State at the Cabinet Office, involving Ministers and Officials
from all relevant UK Government Departments is very welcome. It
gives the Federation confidence that the UK Government is committed
to assisting the Organising Committee to deliver a successful
event. It also ensures there is a single, authoritative point
of access to the Government.
6. The financial support provided towards
the cost of providing the Opening and Closing Ceremonies is appreciated.
UK SPORTS AGENCIES
7. Although to the outsider (and probably
also to the insider) the organisation of British Sport is complex
and confusing, it has caused the Federation little difficulty
so far. The roles of the three main agencies with which the Federation
deals (Government Departments, UK Sport and Sport England) appear
well defined in respect of the Commonwealth Games, and the Federation
has found representatives of all three to be helpful, co-operative
and committed to ensuring a successful Games.
8. The National Lottery funding has made
a massive difference to the funding of facilities for major international
sports events in the UK. The Federation is confident that the
sporting venues for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester will
be excellent, and will prove a great advertisement for Britain's
ability to provide world class sporting facilities. Although it
is no concern of the Federation's, it is a pity that the difficulties
surrounding the National Stadium, and the venue for the World
Athletics Championships have detracted from this perception.
9. The Federation believes that the current
arrangements for underwriting the funding of international sports
events in the UK could be improved. For virtually every Commonwealth
Games outside the UK, the underwriting authority is either the
National or State Government. The Federation believes that financial
risk discourages a significant number of UK cities from bidding
seriously for major international sports events. The Federation
concludes that the UK Government should be the underwriter of
last resort for this type of event.
10. If the UK wishes to become a serious
contender for hosting major sporting events, there has to be a
change of attitude in the country. At present, the image promoted
in the press of any major event in the UK is of a squabble over
how much it costs. These events are expensive to organise and
manage, but there are massive economic, social and legacy benefits
that accrue to the nation if an event is successful. It is important
that the Government plays a robust role in promoting this message.
11. One further disadvantage of the British
arrangement where the Local Authority underwrites the cost of
a major international event is that this tends to encourage regional
parochialism. The Commonwealth Games in 2002 was awarded to England,
and the view in Commonwealth countries is that they are England's
Games. However, the perception in the UK, for reasons that are
perfectly understandable, is that they are Manchester's Games.
Again the Government has a role to play here, although the Federation
does recognise the paradox that it is difficult for the UK Government
to trumpet "England's Games". However, the Government
has handled the situation sensitively so far, and the Federation
has no difficulty with the Government justifying its involvement
as the Games are being hosted "within Britain".
12. A CGF Evaluation Team visited Manchester
from 13 November to 15 November 2000. The purpose of the visit
was to evaluate the progress on the preparation for the Games,
and also to provide specialist advice and assistance to the M2002
team. It should be stressed that the visit was one of partnership
and not inquisition.
13. Overall, the team was impressed and
encouraged by what it heard. It was satisfied that the M2002 team
has identified the main challenges, and is adopting a professional
approach to overcoming them. The clear evidence that a huge amount
was learned from the Olympic Games in Sydney is particularly heartening.
14. A number of experts who have specialist
knowledge of specific "big Games" operations are being
brought into the M2002 operation. It is vital that the knowledge
these people bring with them is captured while they are in the
UK for use in future events. It is unlikely that M2002 will have
the time or resources to do this, but if this is not done in a
structured way, it will represent a massive missed opportunity.
15. Of course, the Games are only 19 months
away, and so much remains to be done. The timescale in many operating
areas is very tight, and there are significant pressures on both
human and financial resources. However, on the evidence of this
visit, the Federation believes that there is good reason to be
confident that M2002 are well on the way to deliver an excellent
Games for Manchester, England, UK, and the Commonwealth.