Memorandum submitted by the British Olympic
1. The British Olympic Association (BOA)
is the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Great Britain and
Northern Ireland. It was formed in 1905 and at that time consisted
of seven National Governing Body (NGB) members. The BOA now includes
as its members the 35 NGBs of each Olympic Sport.
2. The BOA is one of 200 NOCs currently
recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The NOC
is the BOA's decision and policy-making body and it elects the
officers of the Association, the President (HRH The Princess Royal),
the Chairman (Mr Craig Reedie) and two Vice Chairmen (Mr Albert
Woods and Mr John James) each for a four year term. The NOC also
elects the BOA's Executive Board.
3. The head of the BOA's professional staff
(Mr Simon Clegg) is the Chief Executive and also acts as Chef
de Mission during the Olympic Games. The professional departments
of the BOA include Athlete Services, Appeals, Education, Finance,
Games Services, Information Technology, Legal, London Olympic
Project, Marketing, Performance, Press and Sports Science.
4. The BOA's role is to develop the Olympic
Movement within Great Britain and Northern Ireland in accordance
with the Olympic Charter. The BOA is the sole body in the United
Kingdom responsible for selecting, organising and leading the
Great Britain and Northern Ireland delegation at the Olympic Games,
the Olympic Winter Games and the European Youth Olympic and Olympic
5. The BOA also delivers extensive elite
level support services to Britain's Olympic Athletes and to their
NGBs throughout each Olympic cycle to assist them in their preparations
for the Games and to improve their performance at the Games.
6. The BOA has established and runs steering
and advisory groups composed of leading scientists and representatives
from the NGBs on coaching, physiology, acclimatisation, exercise
physiology, nutrition and bio-mechanics. The BOA runs multi-sports
Olympic training camps for current and prospective Olympic athletes
which in recent years have included camps in Australiaon
the Gold Coast and in Brisbane, Orlando in Florida and, for winter
sports, in Lofer in Austria.
7. The BOA organises a team management Olympic-awareness
training programme, an Olympic accreditation scheme for training
centres and, prior to the establishment of the UK Sports' Institute,
the BOA provided UK Sport with advice on technical matters. The
BOA is also involved in the development and delivery of the Athlete
Career and Education programme (ACE UK) and the Olympic and Paralympic
Employment Network (OPEN). Over the last 10 years, the BOA has
also contributed in excess of £1 million in medical insurance
premiums for elite level athletes.
8. The BOA trains current and former Olympic
athletes to deliver motivational goal setting courses to the next
generation of Olympic athletes whilst the BOA Athletes' Commission
provides feedback to the Association on the provision of services
required for competitors in elite sport. The BOA has developed
and runs an agency known at Talk Olympic for Olympic athletes,
offering training and motivational speaking engagements for them
within companies or other organisations. The BOA has also operated
the British Olympic Medical Centre (BOMC) since 1987. The BOMC
provides medical and sports science support for Olympic and potential
9. The BOA continues to be fully committed
to providing technical support to the UK's elite athletes throughout
the entire duration of each Olympic cycleboth for summer
and winter Games.
10. The BOA is only one of a handful of
NOCs worldwide not to receive government or public finance. The
BOA raises the money it needs by granting commercial sponsorship
and licensing rights to companies and from nationwide appeals
to the public and industry.
11. The decision to remove athletics from
the design of the new Wembley stadium was taken by the then Secretary
of State for Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Chris Smith
MP, on 22 December 1999. The background to this decision has been
the subject of a previous CMS Select Committee inquiry for which
the BOA provided written submissions. This was followed by oral
evidence given to the Committee by Mr Craig Reedie and Mr Simon
Clegg on 18 January 2000.
12. In its conclusions to this inquiry,
the Committee questioned the influence of the BOA in the decision
making process, although it cited the omission of the BOA from
the National Stadium Monitoring Committee to be "a fundamental
failure which undermined the effectiveness of the Government's
approach to the Wembley National Stadium project". (Recommendation
(ii), page xliv CMS Select Committee report into Wembley National
Stadium, 1 March 2000).
13. With regard to Wembley, the BOA felt
that it did not exert undue influence but merely voiced legitimate
concerns over the design which were pertinent to the Olympic dimension.
The decision by the then Secretary of State was taken as a result
of an independent review of the Wembley designs by a firm of consultants
commissioned by UK Sport.
14. The Wembley Stadium issue highlighted
the need for open and constructive dialogue between organisations
involved in the administration of British sport. The BOA is clear
that where there is an Olympic focus, then it should be consulted
with regard to Olympic specifications. The role that the BOA played
in the subsequent search for a National Athletics Stadium, was
in line with this rationale.
15. The BOA has fully supported the efforts
of UK Athletics and the London 2005 Bid/Organising Committee to
successfully stage the World Athletics Championships in London.
The staging of international sporting events not only provides
exposure for the sport within the host country, but has other
direct and indirect benefits. Significant economic impacts are
now attributed to these events and home advantage often inspires
improved performances from domestic competitors. These positive
images can provide the stimulus for increased participationespecially
amongst the young.
16. The successful staging of the World
Athletics Championships will greatly aid the development of athletics
within the UK. The recent World Athletics Championships in Edmonton,
Canada have shown that the successes of Sydney must be capitalised
upon in order to maintain the positive momentum engendered by
athletes, coaches and officials at the 2000 Olympic Games.
17. The successful staging of the World
Athletics Championships in London is crucial to helping re-establish
the UK's reputation for sporting administration that has been
tainted by the protracted Wembley Stadium issue. Having already
been awarded the Championships, it is important that the commitment
to stage one of the highest profile world sporting events is reinforced.
18. The efficient organisation of the Championships
is also important to the credibility of a future Olympic bid.
The Championships in London will take place a matter of months
before the expected decision on which city is to host the 2012
Games is made by the IOC. It is vital that the United Kingdom,
and London in particular, can show that the organisation of major
sporting projects remains a high priority.
19. The BOA is heartened by Government pledges
to make the World Athletics Championships a success. This sits
alongside their support in driving forward preliminary work assessing
the viability of a future London Olympic bid. This unequivocal
commitment to staging major international events is stated on
the Department of Culture, Media and Sport's website:
"The Government is working hard to bring
major sports events to the UK. We are also working closely with
the British Olympic Association to lay the foundations for a top
quality Olympic bid and we are driving forward the bid for the
World Athletics Championships."
20. The continuing uncertainty over Picketts
Lock can only further damage the sporting reputation of this country
overseas. The drawn out affair concerning the redevelopment of
Wembley Stadium has already tarnished the name of the world's
most famous football stadium in the eyes of some international
21. The BOA welcomes the Labour Party election
manifesto commitment to the World Athletics Championships and
Labour's commitment to "a radical extension of sporting opportunities
and facilities". In light of these commitments, given only
months ago, it is hoped that the Government will take all necessary
measures to safeguard the staging of the Championships.
22. There is no doubt that if we are serious
about sport in this country then we must look to be at the forefront
of hosting major sporting events. This not only requires a development
of the necessary infrastructure for elite level competition, but
also the implementation of a comprehensive strategy aimed at improving
training and community based facilities.
23. The BOA believes that the necessary
investment in infrastructure should be in addition to, and not
at the expense of, investment in grass roots sport.
24. Following the decision to drop athletics
from Wembley, there was a pressing need to look again for a location
for athletics within London as the World Championships had already
been secured for the capital. The Department of Culture, Media
and Sport convened meetings involving Sport England, UK Athletics,
World Athletics Bid Committee, Government Office for London, London
International Sport and the BOA. This was designed to assess the
viability of sites to fit in with the criteria for the World Athletics
Championships. The BOA attended to provide information concerning
the likely relevance of proposed sites to the Olympic bid work
that was being carried out.
25. At a meeting on 23 February 2000, the
BOA was asked to provide Sport England and DCMS with a three page
brief on the main requirements for an Olympic bid. These were
detailed as "acreage of facilities; village requirements;
transport flows". The BOA subsequently provided the relevant
information that it had at its disposal.
26. At this point it was agreed that the
development of a new athletics stadium should be done via a design
that would not rule out the Olympic option, if and when this became
applicable. With this in mind, Sport England drew up a list of
nine possible options, including Picketts Lock.
27. The sites were assessed by Sport England
against a number of criteria including: site compatibility; readiness;
location; ability to accommodate Olympics; regeneration; transportation;
planning permission; capital viability; ownership structure.
28. It is worth noting that the requirements
for the World Athletics Championships and the Olympic Games vary
in terms of desired spectator provision. In their brief, UK Athletics
state that "The World Athletics Championships would require
a stadium with a seating capacity of between 45,000 to 50,000".
The BOAbased on IOC requirements, expected spectator demand
and an assessment of contemporary bidding citiesviews an
80,000 capacity stadium as being a minimum requirement for the
host city of the Olympic Games. This can take the form of permanent
seating, or through temporary provisionan element of which
was witnessed in Stadium Australia.
29. It was the BOA's initial view that,
if possible, the design for the World Athletics Championships
should incorporate a larger footprint for the temporary extension
of the stadium in the event of a successful bid being made to
stage the Olympic Games. The BOA also gave full backing to UK
Athletics' wish to maintain this stadium as a "legacy stadium"
which they saw as being "a state of the art, permanent UK
home for athletics with a 20,000 seat capacity and the capability
of staging World class athletics meetings on a year round basis".
30. UK Athletics considered the Olympic
dimension in its February appraisal of options for a suitable
stadium development. Its favoured option was for the use of the
available funding to create a legacy stadium which would have
temporary seating for the World Athletics Championships. Their
assessment of the Olympic dimension with respect to this option
was "the initial view is that it would be impractical to
design a stadium that could be adapted from 20,000 to 80,000.
More practical would be the use of this stadium as the warm-up
track or alternative sporting venue".
31. The view expressed by UK Athletics was
to find a stadium that would satisfy the IAAF requirements for
the World Championships whilst also using the funding to leave
behind a "legacy stadium" which could provide a home
for athletics in the UK. The BOA was keen to ensure that, given
the need to convince the IAAF at their April meeting of the viability
of the London stadium project, nothing could be allowed to jeopardise
32. The meeting on 15 March 2000 concluded
that, following detailed assessments, three sites (two in Lee
Valley and one in North West London) were to be considered the
premier options with two existing stadium developments in South
and South West London retained as reserve options.
33. Further meetings took place in the following
week with representatives of these sites to look at the brief,
design issues and cost implications. The BOA was not present at
34. The decision to choose Picketts Lock
ahead of the other two contenders was taken by the relevant organisations
at the end of March 2000. This was in order to remove any uncertainty
over the proposed stadium site prior to the meeting of the IAAF
convened to ratify the location of the Championships.
35. The BOA's input into this final decision
was limited to ensuring that the Olympic dimension was considered
by any site under discussion. The Olympic issues of all three
premier options were assessed by Sport England. They recorded
that the size and location of each of these sites "does not
rule out Olympic potential . . .".
36. The BOA backed the decision for the
stadium development at Picketts Lock as, at the time, this presented
UK Athletics with the most viable option with which to convince
the IAAF at their meetings in Paris to confirm London as the venue
for the 2005 World Athletics Championships. It was also a site
which kept open the possibility of future use in an Olympic bid
37. In light of this decision, Mr Clegg
wrote to Mr Derek Casey, then Chief Executive of Sport England,
on 15 June 2000 about amendments to the Lottery Funding Agreement.
In connection with Wembley this had previously (and erroneously)
cited UK Athletics as the event holder for the Olympic Games.
The BOA was keen that this be resolved. With respect to Picketts
Lock the BOA requested that, as a minimum, the same "not
for profit" and "clean stadium" clauses should
be inserted in respect of a future Olympic Games as had been done
with Wembley. Mr Clegg also stated that he would prefer for the
stadiums to be made available on a "free of charge"
basis bearing in mind the potential amounts of public money that
would be invested in the facilities.
38. Mr Casey replied (6 July 2000) that,
with regard to Wembley, their discussions with Chase Manhattan
involved allowing the stadium to be used for the Olympic Games
should it be required in the future. There was, however, no indication
as to how this would be safeguarded. On the issue of Picketts
Lock, Mr Casey suggested a review of Olympic requirements once
the feasibility reports had been produced to ensure that appropriate
safeguards were built into the funding arrangement.
39. The BOA still maintains that the funding
agreement needs to take account of potential future Olympic usage
and that this should be resolved prior to the finalisation of
40. The first meeting of the Lee Valley
Stadium Forum took place on 26 June 2000 in order to update the
key parties involved in the national athletics facility on the
progress and direction of the project. The BOA were one of a wide
ranging list of such interested parties. Prior to this meeting
the BOA sought clarification from DCMS over the transport implications
of the Picketts Lock site. This was to ensure that the Olympic
dimension was factored into any transport studies that were to
41. There was, at the time, uncertainty
over whether the capacity for the World Athletics Championships
could be adequately catered for by public transport. This, however,
related to a stadium development for 40-50,000 spectators. The
BOA was keen that an assessment of the implications relating to
spectator access/egress for a stadium capacity of 80,000 (ie.
main Olympic stadium) be factored in.
42. This would also assume that the main
stadium is the only Olympic venue that would be served via this
transport route. The placing of other venues, or media facilities,
at Picketts Lock would increase the potential numbers needing
to be catered for in transport terms. For an Olympic Games the
necessity of spectators to travel to and from the venue via public
transport is paramount.
43. The challenges to successfully integrating
an Olympic dimension into the designs of the new stadium were
identified at an early stage. This centred around the fact that
the legacy stadium would be formed from a reduction of the initial
stadium build for the World Athletics Championships. The issue
is further complicated by the unknown factors of when a decision
to bid for the Olympic Games would be made and future capacity
44. On 21 June 2000 Mr Clegg wrote to Mr
David Moorcroft outlining the implications for the design brief
and associated costs. The letter finished "The BOA see
your delivery of a successful World Athletics Championships in
a suitable stadium, as being critical to the international aspirations
of British sport and a future Olympic bid in particular".
45. Mr Moorcroft agreed that for Picketts
Lock to become the main Olympic stadium consideration would need
to be given to ensure that planning, design, structural and commercial
implications are integrated within the work of the current technical
feasibility studies. The other option would be to use the stadium
in its legacy configuration for Olympic sports other than athletics.
46. At the first meeting of the Lee Valley
Stadium Forum, the BOA reiterated the desire to see Olympic requirements
assessed in the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority's (LVRPA) transport
study. Shawn Dawson of LVRPA agreed that there were many Olympic
issues to discuss. The then Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey MP,
emphasised that Olympic issues should be looked at in parallel
to the work on the World Athletics Championships. The BOA reiterated
its commitment that Picketts Lock would be likely to form part
of the infrastructure of a future Olympic bidalthough its
specific role was dependent upon the transport study, planning
constraints and cost analysis.
47. As a result of this, LVRPA instructed
their consultantDrivers Jonasto carry out a small
piece of work to look at:
how far the technical brief could
be adjusted to avoid precluding the Olympics;
the compromises that would have to
be made to the legacy stadium to accommodate the Olympics;
budget cost of conversion to achieve
an 80,000 capacity; and
the effect on planning strategy,
48. The BOA subsequently met with LVRPA,
Sport England, UK Athletics, UK Sport and DCMS on 27 July 2000
to formally discuss what the Olympic requirements would be. At
this meeting LVRPA gave an update on work carried out. This related
to business planning and technical work (which was due to be ready
in September 2000) and the transport and environmental impacts
study which had been commissioned. The BOA was informed that in
order to upgrade to 80,000 a large amount of extra public funding
would be needed. The group viewed that it was more cost-effective
to build for 40,000 with a post-Championships conversion to 20,000
and then to consider the issue of the Olympic Games. Whilst the
transport report had not been completed it was foreseen that there
could also be issues surrounding 80,000 competitors accessing/egressing
the site by public transport (in potential Olympic mode).
49. It was made clear that for the BOA to
insist on the stadium being able to be converted to the main stadium
of the Olympic Games would put at risk the staging of the 2005
World Athletics Championships. At this point it was envisaged
that the planning application would be submitted at Easter 2001.
The BOA was told that an increased stadium, plus other ancillary
facilities that would be required for an Olympic Games, would
delay a planning applicationwith the probability that the
project would be called in for public inquiry. The BOA therefore
agreed that, at this point, it would be counter-productive to
insist on the stadium being able to meet the requirements of the
main Olympic Stadium.
50. Given the importance attached to the
World Athletics Championships and the tight time-frame involved,
it was agreed that the stadium would still play some part in a
future London Olympic bid, but it would be unlikely to be as the
main stadium. The BOA took this view in order to avoid in any
way jeopardising the staging of the World Athletics Championships.
51. Following this meeting the BOA has attended
the Lee Valley Stadium Forum as an interested and relevant party.
It has however had no other involvement with this project outside
of attendance at these meetingsthe minutes of which are
held in the House of Commons Library.
52. When the decision was taken to review
the English National Stadium and Lee Valley National Athletics
Centre projects, the BOA sought contact with Patrick Carter's
team. This was primarily to ensure that the implications surrounding
Picketts Lock were fully understood by those reporting back to
53. To that end, Mr Reedie offered to meet
the Carter team to discuss the importance of the World Athletics
Championships to the international reputation of British sport
and, linked to that, the credibility of a future London Olympic
54. The reply from Mr Stephen Poole noted
that the review was centred on whether the project could be funded
and managed in its present format, and not what alternatives might
be considered. The BOA was told that Mr Carter was only meeting
the key stakeholders in each project. The BOA was therefore not
invited to speak to Mr Carter or his team, but instead offered
55. Mr Reedie placed on record (30 August
2001) a letter (addressed to Mr Robert Raine at DCMS) welcoming
the manifesto commitment of the Government to the World Athletics
Championships; reaffirming Wembley as an important component in
football terms of a future London Olympic bid; and confirming
that Picketts Lock could form part of a future Olympic bid for
sports other than track and field athletics. These views were
subsequently reiterated in a letter sent by Mr Reedie to the Secretary
of State on 25 September 2001.
56. Mr Reedie concluded his letter by saying:
"The BOA is impressed with the resolution
of the financial difficulties facing the 2002 Commonwealth Games
and we are encouraged at the prospect that these Games can now
be a considerable success. If the Picketts Lock development can
be brought to fruition over the next few weekswhich would
give complete comfort to the IAAFthen the combination of
both developments would greatly enhance the cause of British sport
in the international arena".
1 October 2001