Memorandum submitted by London Marathon
1. The London Marathon was first run on
29 March 1981 having been founded in 1980 by Chris Brasher and
John Disley. The then GLC leader, Sir Horace Cutler, agreed to
the race going ahead adding the proviso that: "You never
ask the ratepayers to bail you out. Not a penny from the ratepayers."
2. As a result the race was set up with
a unique structure for a major city marathon with a charity being
established, The London Marathon Charitable Trust Limited (LMCT)
as a holding company for the operating company, The London Marathon
Limited (LML). All of the profits of the race, and other events
and commercial activities, are passed annually to LMCT for its
charitable purposes, the provision of recreational facilities
in Greater London.
3. The founders devised six aims for the
3.1 To improve the overall standard and
status of British Marathon running by providing a fast course
and strong international competition.
3.2 To show to mankind that, on occasions,
the Family of Man can be united.
3.3 To raise money for the provision of
recreational facilities in London.
3.4 To help London tourism.
3.5 To prove that when it comes to organising
major events, "Britain is best".
3.6 To have fun and provide some happiness
and sense of achievement in a troubled world.
4. In 1981 some 20,000 people wanted to
take part and of the 7,747 accepted there were 6,255 finishers.
Since then there have been over 400,000 finishers and the event
is now so oversubscribed that it has to reject over 50,000 applicants
5. In 2000, independent research showed
that runners in that year's event raised over £24 million
for their favourite good causes. Further independent research
revealed that the race generated over £63 million worth of
economic activity over half of which was in London.
6. The event is now recognised as being
the world's leading city centre marathon and is proud of the fact
that it remains the only one to have never cost its citizens money
and that it continues to donate all of its profits to recreational
7. LMCT is a registered charity and a company
limited by guarantee. Its members are the founders, Chris Brasher
and John Disley, the Association of London Government, Amateur
Athletic Association of England, UK Athletics and Sport England.
8. There are 13 trustees of the LMCT and
these currently are:
8.1 Sir James Swaffield CBEChairman.
8.2 John Austin MPrepresentative
of the ALG.
8.3 Chris Brasher CBE MAPresident.
8.4 Trevor Brooking CBEChairman of
8.5 Geoff Clarke FSCArepresentative
of AAA of E.
8.6 James Clarke BEMChairman of LML.
8.7 Lord Sebastian Coe OBEPresident
of AAA of E.
8.8 John Disley CBEVice Chairman.
8.9 Eileen Gray CBErepresentative
of the ALG.
8.10 Sir Eddie Kulukundis OBEco-opted.
8.11 Dame Mary Peters CBEnominee
of the President of UKA.
8.12 Bryan Smithrepresentative of
AAA of E.
8.13 Joyce Smith MBEBritish runner
After recent meetings, it is likely that the
Articles of Association will be amended shortly to add a further
trustee who will be a nominee of the Mayor of London.
9. LML, which employs all of the staff and
undertakes all operations regarding the event, has a board which
is chosen by LMCT but by convention has allowed two representatives
of local government and three from athletics. The race is organised
by a management team headed by Nick Bitel, Chief Executive, and
Dave Bedford, Race Director. The current directors of LML are:
9.1 James Clarke BEMChairman.
9.2 Geoff Clarke FSCAnominated by
AAA of E.
9.3 John Disley CBEco-founder.
9.4 Bryan Smithnominated by UKA.
9.5 John Holland CBE JP DLnominated
9.6 Chris Watermannominated by ALG.
9.7 Mike Neighbournominated by AAA
9.8 John Spurling OBEco-opted.
After recent discussions it is likely that the
GLA will nominate a new board member in addition to those current
10. Since 1981 LMCT has donated over £8
million for a variety of recreational projects across all 33 of
the capital's boroughs. Particular emphasis has been given to
helping those areas through which the race is run.
11. Until 1998, LMCT has no overall strategy
for its donations with the Trustees meeting once a year to consider
the many applications and having received reports on each proposal
then deciding which to assist.
12. However, the advent of the Lottery has
meant that more funds have become available for capital projects
and LMCT has become an important resource for providing, in whole
or in part, that portion of funding that has to be raised to allow
for Lottery applications to succeed.
13. Furthermore, until 1996 the profits
of LML were modest (£310,000 in year to September 1995),
but subsequent to this profits had been growing considerably (£1.7
million in year to September 2000) and the Trustees of LMCT now
have significant funds at their disposal on an annual basis although
each year applications for grants exceed the funds available.
14. In 1998 LMCT decided that it ought to
act in a more strategic fashion in distributing its funds and
specifically it highlighted the urgent need to protect playing
fields in London that were, and still are, being lost at an alarming
rate. As a result it has at the last three grant meetings allocated
money to help save playing fields under threat and also upgraded
applications for funding which involve protection of playing fields.
Since the advent of the Lottery had meant more capital being available
for schemes the Trustees also considered that special consideration
should be given to revenue or endowment funding of such schemes.
15. In April 1999, LMCT provided the London
Playing Fields Society with the whole of the required funds to
purchase the former Royal Naval College playing fields in Shooters
Hill, Greenwich together with funds to cover initial losses and
in 2000 provided all of the funds for the purchase of the former
London Post Office playing fields in Fairlop (this is in the joint
names of LMCT and LPFS).
16. The speed of action of LMCT and its
partnership strategy has recently been held up as an example of
best practice at a conference organised by Sport England. LMCT
is continuing to search for suitable playing fields projects and
is currently in discussions with National Playing Fields Association
regarding a site in Greenwich. So far over £750,000 has been
committed to the LMCT playing fields project.
17. LMCT believes that in order to fulfill
the original aims of the founders of the London Marathon it is
vital that adequate recreational facilities exist in Greater London.
It has identified that in order to achieve this purpose LMCT should
be taking a more active role in identifying the projects which
meet its strategic purposes.
18. In 1999 Britain was bidding to host
the World Athletics Championships in London in ether 2003 or 2005.
There were however no facilities to show to the IAAF and the bid
was therefore perceived to be lacking in any tangible evidence
of structures or expertise. As a result, LML agreed to invite,
and host, members of the IAAF Council to the 1999 Flora London
Marathon. A number of Council members took up the invitation with
LML meeting all of the associated costs.
19. We believe that the expertise shown
in the organisation of the event was an important factor in persuading
the IAAF that Britain has the technical ability necessary to organise
a first rate World Athletics Championships.
20. LML has had tentative discussions with
UKA about it being involved in the organisation of out of stadium
athletics events (ie Marathons and Walks) for the Championships
and LML would be sympathetic to requests for other assistance
where it has expertise, for instance in such areas as volunteers,
media or sponsorship.
21. LML has a good working relationship
with UKA with which it has a number of joint projects. LML and
UKA currently have a joint series of endurance development races
and LML provides funds to help endurance athletes (selected jointly
with UKA) who are not in receipt of Lottery funding with training,
travel and healthcare. LML have also seconded a senior member
of its staff on a part-time basis to UKA to run a high performance
centre in South London and has in the past seconded staff to UKA's
22. This kind of possible involvement of
LML in the 2005 World Athletics Championships is seen as an extension
of its partnership work with UKA.
23. By contrast, the potential involvement
of LMCT in the funding of running of the legacy stadium is part
of its work in the provision of recreational facilities in Greater
London and has nothing to do with any involvement in the World
Athletics Championships. The Championships are an elite event
which would not qualify for support under the LMCT charitable
24. The Board of LML considered the possible
involvement in the running of the Stadium at Picketts Lock post
World Championships after learning of the difficulties that Lee
Valley Regional Park and UKA were having in finding a solution
for the long term use of the Stadium. After considering the feasibility
study carried out by Ernst & Young and the report of Drivers
Jonas, the Board of LML recommended to the Trustees of LMCT that
it should agree to provide revenue funding for the legacy use
of the Stadium.
25. There were many reasons considered by
LML in reaching its decision but essentially these were as follows:
25.1 LML noted that the City of Manchester
Stadium being built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games was to
have its track removed after the Games and was then to be handed
over to Manchester City as a private football ground. The Board
was concerned that such a solution for Picketts Lock would fail
to deliver any long-lasting recreational facilities for the people
25.2 The provision of athletics facilities
in London is poor and over the last 30 years the number of tracks
has been reduced and those that remain are often in a poor condition.
25.3 Athletics facilities at Crystal Palace
have been allowed to deteriorate and the track has previously
faced closure through lack of support. Planning permission difficulties
meant that it was very unlikely to be able to enhance the facilities.
25.4 London has no indoor facilities of
the type planned for Picketts Lock.
25.5 There is currently nowhere in London
that can host major athletics competitions such as the World or
25.6 There would be excellent community
demand for use of the planned legacy facilities at Picketts Lock
and although transport links were far from ideal, the stadium
would be well used and was reasonably accessible for a large portion
of the population of North London.
25.7 Major international sporting events
that are held in Britain should provide a lasting community benefit
and rather than a sports development legacy, which was the route
favoured by some other major events, the facilities themselves
were a more suitable legacy in this case.
26. Having considered all of these factors
the Board of LML decided that the long term use of the proposed
facilities was desirable and that to save such facilities fitted
in well with the strategy that had in recent years been developed
by LMCT with regard to playing fields.
27. LML also considered what would happen
if it did not agree to assist with the revenue funding of the
legacy use. Since no self-sustaining long term use had then been
shown it was considered that there was a real risk of the project
not receiving Lottery funding and therefore not proceeding. The
Board of LML therefore considered that LMCT support was vital
in leveraging Lottery funding and that this fitted in well with
the strategy that had been developed by LMCT in recent years in
28. LML also considered that UKA has insufficient
resources to meet the projected revenue shortfall and the same
is true for AAA of E or any other athletics body in the UK other
29. The matter came before Trustees on the
13th December 2000 when the Trustees received the officers' report
and agreed to further consider the proposal at its meeting on
the 15th January 2001 there being insufficient time to consider
the matter at the December meeting.
30. Prior to the January meeting, the Football
Association reconsidered the development proposals for Wembley
Stadium and the new Chairman, Sir Rodney Walker, consulted the
Chief Executive of LML, Nick Bitel, among many others regarding
the potential incorporation of athletics at the new Wembley Stadium.
31. Just prior to the January meeting, a
message was received from Sir Rodney Walker to the effect that
the Trustees should concentrate on the Picketts Lock project rather
than Wembley and of course subsequently he announced on the 18th
January 2001 that Wembley could not host the Championships and
there would be no provision for athletics.
32. Trustees in reaching their decision
will have to take account of a number of factors. Whilst support
for the scheme was clearly within the charitable objects of the
company the question still as to whether or not this was a good
use of the profits generated by the event in the face of competing
demands from a multitude of applications each year.
33. One trustee, at an early stage, expressed
the view that LMCT should not be involved in the scheme, whether
at Picketts Lock or elsewhere, since the Government having, in
his view, pledged to bring the World Championships to Britain,
should be providing all of the necessary funding. He also felt
that, on the estimate of £600,000, the proportion of annual
profits to be devoted was unreasonably large (see 37 and 38 below).
34. Other trustees felt differently and
in particular it was stated that the proposed funding was nothing
to do with the World Athletics Championships but related to the
continuing legacy use of the facility and to this extent it was
no different to the earlier policy decisions regarding revenue
funding of playing fields.
35. The view was also expressed that whilst
in a perfect world all recreational facilities would be fully
government funded so should many of the schemes that were funded
annually by LMCT. Just as with medical charities, the reality
is that not every desirable or deserving cause can be publicly
funded and that LMCT therefore had an important role to play in
helping such schemes.
36. As to the amount of revenue support
required for the new scheme, this was not certain as at the 15th
January 2001 and the Trustees felt that without further detailed
information they could not at this stage announce their support
for a particular sum.
37. Any grant involved the reduction of
money available to other schemes but even if a ceiling contribution
of £600,000 was agreed this would still leave more than £1
million per annum for other grants which was vastly more than
had been given annually in the first 16 years of the existence
38. Trustees were informed that if the track
were to be owned by LMCT there would be further advantages. Firstly,
as a registered charity, it would benefit substantially from rates
rebates. Secondly, the trust had as its trustees representatives
from all of the main potential interested parties from athletics,
local government and, through Sport England, the Lottery and central
government. This makes it an ideal vehicle for the control of
the legacy stadium.
39. The Trustees discussed the matter in
great detail and at length and as a result unanimously resolved
"The Trustees note the present uncertainty
as to the likely venue of the 2005 World Athletics Championships.
The Trustees would like any such facility in London to be available
for continued community use after those Championships.
The Trustees are interested in the ongoing use
of such facilities and will be discussing this further when that
uncertainty has been resolved.
We await a formal proposal and are willing to
be involved in discussions leading to the making of that proposal."
40. As a result of this decision, the Trustees
have authorised the Chief Executive, Nick Bitel, and the Secretary/Treasurer,
David Golton, under the Vice-Chairman, John Disley, to enter into
discussions with relevant bodies. Some discussions have already
been held with Shaun Dawson, of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority,
and David Moorcroft of UK Athletics and further meetings are planned.
41. The next meeting of Trustees is 20 April
2001 by which time it is anticipated that proposals will be finalised
although if they are available earlier a further meeting of Trustees
will be convened.