Fiascos will not affect 2012 bid, says Rogge

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The Independent Online

London's chances of landing the 2012 Olympics will not be affected by the Wembley and Picketts Lock fiascos, the International Olympic Committee said yesterday.

On Thursday, Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, confirmed he would back a bid to bring the world's biggest sporting event to the capital, but the farces surrounding the much-delayed new Wembley and the axed Picketts Lock project, which led to the loss of the 2005 World Athletics Championships, sparked fears that the IOC would have reservations about the bid.

But IOC president Jacques Rogge, asked if London's chances would be affected by Wembley and Picketts Lock, said: "Last year's Commonwealth Games in Manchester totally alleviated that and it was a very good stepping stone for a London bid.

"Picketts Lock was an embarrassment to British sport but it's over. You have the assets so now it's a matter of bringing everything together."

Rogge also disclosed the contents of his telephone conversation with Mr Blair earlier this week. He said: "Tony Blair said he knew there'd be formidable competition. I told him I thought London had very good potential. Britain invented modern sports, have political and economic stability and have very good athletes."

The British Olympic Association chief executive Simon Clegg said the bid would focus on the IOC's demands for "substance, not appearance and window-dressing".

"We have very stiff competition but the IOC president says we have good potential and we know that," he said.