Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain

  Thank you for your letter dated 1 November 2000 and I welcome the opportunity to contribute further to the work of the Committee on the staging of international sporting events.

  I am sure the Committee are aware of the importance of governing bodies playing a pivotal role in bringing international sporting events to this country. In key sports such as swimming which is the largest participation sport in this country with 11.9 million people swimming regularly and with a strong heritage at World, Commonwealth and Olympic level, the importance of this cannot be under-estimated. Having recently returned from the Sydney Olympic Games—certainly a high water mark for the Olympic movement—it is clear that Sydney has set a new standard not only for the staging of Olympic events but also the staging of world class events. There is no doubt that as far as our world governing body, FINA, is concerned they look to Great Britain to stage events and would welcome in particular the opportunity to stage events in London and it is for this reason that we have begun an early dialogue with the GLA.

  The harsh reality however, is that there are no world class swimming facilities in London and there is a need for the development of a strategy to create this. There is equally a need for London to have a clear strategy building towards a possible Olympic bid and we would urge your Committee to press the Government and the GLA to undertake a review of swimming provision throughout London not only for world class events but to meet the needs of the citizens and young people within London.

  Looking forward to a possible Olympic bid for London, there is no doubt that if London is to have a realistic chance of attracting the support of the IOC we need to address as a matter of urgency the issue of key facilities and the transport and infrastructure required for such an event. Without doubt we have the management skills and technical knowledge to stage the event but I remain to be convinced that we have the necessary commitment at this moment in time. The level of commitment necessary should not be under-estimated.

  Looking to the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games we have been impressed by the commitment of Manchester City Council to ensure that there is a legacy from this event and there is no doubt that the new swimming pool and the commitment towards swimming development from the City Council will revitalise sport and swimming in the city.

  We do however, have great reservations with regard to the adequacy of the swimming facility, with spectator seating of circa 2,000 compared to 18,000 in Sydney on the Olympic centre and 12,000 proposed for Melbourne in 2006, there will without doubt be some criticism.

  A further observation of a general nature which we would wish to make is that there should be continuing encouragement for major cities to invest in international sporting events. Travelling around the world we see the great cities of the world taking the financial initiative in bringing events to their cities to encourage economic activity and sporting rejuvenation. We should recognise that this is the way forward.

  Should your Committee feel there would be some value in me attending and providing any verbal evidence I would welcome this opportunity.

November 2000

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