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


Supplementary memorandum submitted by UK Sport

  1.   In what state is the national strategy and framework for major events following the failure of the 2006 FIFA World Cup bid and the withdrawal of London from hosting the IAAF World Championships?

    —  What are the prospects for a Summer Olympics bid?

  The national strategy for securing and staging major events has been shared with the Select Committee. As has been previously explained, its development followed an exhaustive consultation with key stakeholders from all sectors. Government and the home country Sports Council have endorsed it. At its heart is the objective of capitalising on the potential events provided for the further development of sport for example, in terms of medal success, attraction of new participants, recruitment and training of volunteers and officials. The strategy also recognizes that well organised events contribute positively to the image and international attractiveness of the UK and bring economic benefits to the city, region and nation. The strategy envisaged the UK securing the four biggest sporting events in the world over and 10-15 year period culminating in a bid for a London based Olympics. As such, the WCA was a key element in demonstrating the capacity and ability of London to stage the blue ribbon event of the Olympic programme. As has been explained in our evidence the fact that the UK is reneging on its commitment to provide a London venue for the WCA will have a damaging impact on our international reputation. This is compounded by having requested and secured an agreement from the IAAF to move the date of our hosting from 2003 to 2005 and from a redeveloped Wembley to a purpose built athletics stadium in Picketts Lock. As international competition for events increases, such a history can be exploited by our competitors and undermine the efforts of those bidding for future events. This is less so the case with the 2006 World Cup campaign as we mounted a well-respected and credible bid and were beaten by strong opposition. We were not tested on our ability to deliver on our promises for this event. The strategy will require reviewing, something already underway as we continue to work with the national governing bodies to develop and refine their event strategies. We can clearly build on the excellent record we have been developing since 1997 with over 35 World, European and Commonwealth level events successfully staged in the UK to world class standard. We must build on this strength.

  2.   The previous Committee's report on Wembley (HC 164 1999-2000) stated that there "seems to have been a disjuncture between the private advice offered to the Government by UK Sport and the public position of UK Sport in the subsequent debate." (Paragraph 81). Can you clarify what advice UK Sport offered to the then Secretary of State on the removal of athletics from the Wembley National Stadium proposal?

  Previous evidence from Sir Rodney to the Select Committee relating to the removal of the platform in December 1999 has been based around the phrase "once the Secretary of State had decided to make his announcement it was probably correct at the time due to the uncertainty raised by the DLA/Ellerbe Becket Report". I should now advise the Committee that I met with the Secretary of State on 8 December 1999 and strongly advised him against making the announcement in December in order that we could have more time to examine the conclusions reached in the Ellerbe Becket Report. The Secretary of State, as we know, rejected that advice. We now know that the problems raised in the report were capable of being resolved which gives rise to the way in which I have answered the Committee's questions previously.

  3.   Sir Rodney Walker was reported in the press recently as sponsoring an alternative plan for a Wembley stadium which preserves the twin towers and incorporates a platform solution to the athletic/football conundrum. If true, was this being done with a UK Sport hat on?

    —  Can you confirm whether the architects behind this alternative scheme are DLA/Ellerbe Becket whose 1999 report for UK Sport led to the removal of athletics from the Wembley Stadium proposal?

  Sir Rodney Walker raised the Genesis Consortium proposal in his capacity as Chair of WNSL and is most certainly not sponsoring the plan. He first met with representatives of the Consortium on 14 August after Patrick Carter had begun his work. He advised Messrs Kirby and Nally, representatives of the Consortium that he was only prepared to consider their project in detail if they came back to him with a fully worked up, costed and funded scheme. They returned on 1 October, together with Consortium members representing the architects, accountants and bankers and left with him three complete copies of their proposals. The scheme envisaged that neither the Football Association nor the Government would be required to provide funding and, whilst there were obvious deficiencies within the scheme presented to him, he felt that he had no alternative but to present copies to the FA and Government. A third copy was given to the GLA who had indicated to Sir Rodney at a number of recent meetings that they now wished to become more actively involved in assisting the scheme at Wembley.

  I can confirm that the architects to the scheme are DLA/Ellerbe Becket.

  4.   UK Athletics complains that it did not receive a copy of the Carter report until 4 October—the day that decisions were announced. Did UK Sport see a copy before this date? Why do you think there was no consultation on the conclusions of the report? Is this good practice?

    —  Did not UK Sport itself treat publication of the 1999 Ellerbe Becket report on athletics at Wembley in the same unhelpful way. Why was that?

  UK Sport did not receive an advanced copy of the Carter report. We printed the resumé off the Web. We indicated to the Committee our disappointment at not being consulted by Mr Carter as the NDPB was given the role by government for major events. Mr Carter seemed not to know of us or of our Royal Charter and our designated UK role.

  UK Sport was asked to undertake the co-ordination of the Ellerbe Becket report and successfully obtained full co-operation from all parties. On instruction from the Minister circulation to all parties was delayed for 24 hours.

  5.   Will UK Sport now be undertaking a feasibility study of the chances for success of a Sheffield bid? Do you expect to receive an application for Lottery funds to support a bid?

  The responsibility for final selection of a city to bid for the WCA lies with UKA, not the Government nor UK Sport. If UKA conclude Sheffield fits their event strategy and contributes to their overall business development plan, we would be asked by them to assess such a bid as part of the overall UK major events strategy. We would undertake the same evaluation we do for other events assessing such aspects as infrastructure capacity and appropriateness, operational expertise and financial viability, opportunities for development and legacy to the sport and the region, risk assessment of critical factors including the ability of the bid to succeed in an international competition. As was explained in our verbal evidence, no such approach has been made.

  6.   You write that the only viable option now is to revisit Picketts Lock. Is this really a credible proposal? Is it not an invitation for derision from the world sporting community and others not least the IAAF?

    —  Have you put this proposal to the Government? If so, what response have you received?

  Our evidence suggested five possible options and looked at the pros and cons of each. In suggesting revisiting Picketts Lock, we were cogniscent of the IAAF desire that every effort be made to see if Picketts Lock could be made to work. A more modest design brief and a forcefully negotiated design-build contract may have delivered a stadium for less cost. As Sir Rodney noted in his evidence, the redevelopment of a 32,000 seat stadium for Leicester City FC is costing £31 million suggesting to us that if properly challenged, architects should be able to deliver a 43,000 athletics stadium for the £60 million currently earmarked. On the transport, if Government were convinced of the importance of the event to the country's reputation and future hosting aspirations, it would be possible to advance and fast tack the necessary transport infrastructure improvements as has been achieved by other countries. However, the Committee will recall that our final conclusion was that withdrawal was in all probability the only viable option necessitating a damage limitation exercise with the IAAF. We provided Government with a copy of our evidence and drew attention to our assessment of the options as we saw them.

  7.   You say in your memorandum that, apart from the Olympics, the UK's ability to secure World and European level events is unlikely to be damaged except in competitive circumstances. Are you in fact saying that the UK will continue to secure major events but only those no-one else particularly wants?

  The Sports Councils between them recognize over 85 different sports. These have World, European and Commonwealth Championships of varying sizes and significance. To suggest that the failure of Picketts Lock will irreparably damage the UK's ability to secure events across this range of sports is clearly not the case. Indeed, plans are well advanced for the staging of the IAAF's second most important event, the World Indoor Championships in Athletics, in Birmingham in 2003. The success of this event is critical to our reputation within the IAAF and to sport generally. It is our belief however, that where competition for the securing of an event is stiff, our competitors will be able to exploit the Picketts Lock history to their advantage and plant seeds of doubt in the minds of the decision makers on UK's reliability. This will be especially true if an event requires new facility construction or transport infrastructure improvements.

  8.   When asked why the UK needed a big athletics stadium, Patrick Carter told us that he "could find no policy that said why we did these things" and he did "not know whether there is a policy to pursue major events and back them up financially or not". Is this a fair criticism of the position in the UK?

  This is not a fair criticism. As explained by Richard Callicott, Mr Carter and his team made no contact with UK Sport despite our lead role in major events and our funding of the bid to secure the event. Mr Carter was forwarded a copy of UK Sport's policy and strategy immediately following his evidence to the Committee when we became aware of his lack of knowledge of this documentation. No reply or follow-up has been received to this approach.

30 October 2001

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