Memorandum submitted by London International
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to
the latest inquiry on Staging International Sporting Events. I
shall respond to all areas of the inquiry where London is affected
and shall also address the changes brought about by the introduction
of the Mayor and Greater London Authority.
1. 2005 WORLD
Following the decision by the Secretary of State
at the end of 1999 to exclude athletics from the National Stadium
at Wembley, we spent some time looking at possible alternatives.
In particular, we concentrated on Hillingdon House Farm, Hackney
Wick, Cricklewood and Picketts Lock.
For some time Hillingdon House Farm seemed to
be a viable alternative venue, given there was a derelict athletics
track there. The Government Office for London had concerns about
transport congestion in the area, but the main reason it did not
succeed was that local authority members whose support was vital
felt that it was too large a development for the area concerned
and declined the opportunity.
Cricklewood near the North Circular Road was
a possibility, but access to the particular was too difficult
and the cost of the land very high.
Hackney Wick was strongly supported by a private
developer. The timing of it, however, did not fit in easily with
the developments within the Stratford railway lands and in 2005
the area may well have been more of a building site than the kind
of venue one would require for a major Championship of this kind.
Picketts Lock, on the other hand, generated
significant support from the relevant authorities, especially
Lee Valley Regional Park and Enfield. As a location it was potentially
very helpful to an East London based Olympic Games bid and its
impact in the area was expected to be regenerative. We support
the decision made by the Secretary of State to choose Picketts
Since the decision was made at the end of March,
a significant amount of work has been carried out and progress
made with the help of consultants in the assessment of the viability
of the stadium. The principal areas to resolve are the business
case covering capital and revenue, planning, transport and environment
concerns. In many respects the most intractable was likely to
be the revenue costs, but at this time they appear to have been
As an area of Green Belt there are environmental
and planning constraints and it is right that LVRPA are attempting
as closely as possible to use the footprint of the current leisure
centre. Only when the environmental impact assessment is completed
and the planning application made will it be known whether they
satisfy the relevant authorities, but the risks are being reduced.
There are currently options in existence which
would improve transport links to Picketts Lock. It is likely that
the work necessary, which will probably include the upgrading
of the rail line and opening a station at Picketts Lock will need
to be brought forward. The capital costs are still to be resolved,
but, contrary to press speculation, there is no reason why they
should not be, through looking at the specification and devising
ways to find alternative funds.
A decision was made fairly early on that Picketts
Lock was unlikely to be the principal Olympic stadium for athletics.
This is sensible given its location. An Olympic stadium with a
capacity of 80,000 plus needs to be much nearer a major hub of
transport. The legacy of the stadium at Picketts Lock is as a
home for athletics including a high performance centre, something
We will continue to support the development
of the stadium. The other issue in which we are engaged and is
currently being addressed is the signing of the contract for the
Championships with the IAAF.
2. THE IMPACT
1999 CRICKET WORLD
We first contacted the organisers of the Cricket
World Cup in 1996 during Euro '96. We explained to the organisers
the importance of involving local authorities and others in the
cities where the World Cup was taking place. In our view through
this broader involvement a cricket development programme and a
cultural events programme could have been undertaken to enhance
the World Cup and increase its importance locally. Despite being
told that the organisers would respond, this did not happen. We
held further meetings from 1998, but it became clear that the
organisers were not interested in working closely with local authorities
and others who were willing to be engaged.
We understand that a contract was signed with
an organisation to promote cricket in schools, as part of the
World Cup. We do not know the success or otherwise of this work.
We are clear, however, that opportunities were lost for the World
Cup to make a much stronger impact and create a more lasting legacy
and that this is a lesson for future world events which we first
learned during Euro '96. In our view though it cannot be for governing
bodies alone to develop this work. It is something which we believe
the Government itself through DCMS should support. So far, it
is apparent, following a meeting held with DCMS officials a couple
of years ago, that the Department does not consider it to be one
of its responsibilities. Major sports events should leave a strong
legacy. We do not seem very good in this country at using them
to develop the sports concerned, or to commit to wider cultural
activities which would add profile to the events and promote the
3. 2006 FIFA WORLD
Unlike the experience with the organisers of
the World Cup in cricket, the bidding team for the FIFA World
Cup were keen to work with the cities. Following a proposal we
made they convened meetings of the English cities potentially
involved and asked them to draw up indicative cultural programmes
to support the World Cup. The cities did this and the responses
formed one part of the bid submission to FIFA.
Throughout the contact we had with the bidding
team, its members seemed to be very professional and competent.
It seems however that the bid never really stood a chance given
the circumstances of tacit support having apparently been given
to the German bid. The bid itself seemed to be declared on the
spur of the moment one day after Euro '96 opened. If that is indeed
the case, it is not in our view a recommended approach to take.
Any bid should be part of a strategy planned well in advance with
pitfalls understood. For example, no discussion was had about
a possible conflict between the World Cup bid for 2006 and an
Olympic bid for 2008.
We were, as our previous submissions to the
Select Committee had indicated, fairly involved in expressing
concerns about the developments taking place at Wembley concerning
athletics. We were not a party to the decision made to take away
athletics from Wembley. In our view it was not going to be easy
to resolve the requirements of athletics including a warm-up area
when the controlling influence in the redevelopment of the stadium
was the governing body of another sport.
Since the decision has been made, we have had
practically no involvement with the development of the stadium.
The London Development Agency has continued co-ordinating the
taskforce to look at the area around the stadium. This work is
very important if the surroundings are going to live up to the
expectations of the stadium itself.
5. THE PROSPECTS
We have been working for over three years with
the British Olympic Association to develop an Olympic bid for
London for 2012. We are shortly to make a submission to the Government
of the work we have carried out so far.
We have stated our view before about why we
believe only London realistically stands a chance of success in
bidding for the Olympics, something the British Olympic Association
itself has accepted. We have assessed the potential of West London
and East London based bids. The Mayor has declared his support
in principle for an East London based Games.
We have seen through Sydney what the impact
can be of a successful Olympic Games. It has fundamentally changed
the view Sydney has of itself and how the world experiences it.
Its status as a major city has been secured. The Olympics there
were very well planned and organised, supported strongly by the
people and in the end the press. The atmosphere created was of
a vibrant and dynamic city and this was helped by 47,000 well-trained
and friendly volunteers. London cannot emulate Sydney in the physical
structure of the Games, because London (like probably every other
major city) does not have an area like Homebush at its heart.
What London can do is to plan and prepare equally as well and
to utilise the many strengths which the city does have. It is
recognised that the Olympic Games would provide a real opportunity
to renew and develop the infrastructure of London and to engage
and involve its many diverse citizens. London has the potential
to host a wonderful Olympic Games.
It is clear that the competition for 2012 would
be very strong, especially given the enthusiasm cities now have,
following the success of Sydney. London ranks at least alongside
New York and Tokyo as a World City. If it wants to retain its
place against growing opposition, then it must be able to bid
for and host successfully events like the Olympics. The prospects
of winning against any city are good and we believe a bid should
be made, unless 2008 is to be won by another European city. A
prerequisite is for a London bid to be strongly supported by the
Government at all levels, the private sector and London itself.
6. THE MAYOR
The Greater London Authority was established
in July this year and there is no doubt that strategically it
is of great importance to the future of London. Although the Authority
has few new resources at its disposal, it is, especially through
the Mayor, a major influence on strategic developments in London.
No bid for the Olympic Games for example could
be made without the support of the Mayor and Authority. Various
parts of the Authority and functional bodies to which it relates
are important when it comes to major events. These include the
London Development Agency, Transport for London, the Metropolitan
Police Authority and the Policy Directorate within the GLA which
among other things has responsibility for spatial development
Under the Act setting up the Greater London
Authority, the Mayor had to establish a Cultural Strategy Group.
Appointments were made in July this year and they included a wide
range of people from different parts of the cultural sector, including
sport. Its role is to develop a cultural strategy and this it
hopes to have completed by the end of 2001 after a major consultation
process. It is also likely to stimulate or enhance some cultural
events in London to support the strategy. London International
Sport is working closely with the Cultural Strategy Group of which
I am a member and, through the CSG and other bodies where appropriate,
we would expect the Mayor and the Authority to become very involved
in major developments such as the Lee Valley Stadium and an Olympics
Games bid. The Deputy Mayor, for example, has already participated
in meetings concerning Picketts Lock.
We believe that the establishment of the Mayor
and strategic Authority puts London in a stronger position to
bid for and win major sports events. We look forward to working
closely with the Authority in the years ahead.
Despite failures such as the 2006 World Cup
bid and problems faced following successful bids, which always
occur, we believe it is important for this country to continue
to try to bring major sporting events here. They are potentially
excellent showcases for the cities concerned, often help with
regeneration, should develop the sports concerned at all levels
and bring if successful considerable pride in the achievements.
The Commonwealth Games in Manchester and World
Athletics Championships in London are two major events which we
should make the most of. The biggest prize is the Olympic Games
and we think that London is an eminently suitable location for
the Games to be held. It is important to be positive about our
ability to host the Games. It would undoubtedly require good planning
and appropriate streamlined structures.
We have shared this response with the Greater
London Authority which will also make a short submission of its
We would also be willing to give oral evidence
if that would be helpful to the Committee in addition to making
further written statements if required.