Inside Lines: Bid to stage Olympic showcase event ko'd
Sunday 25 April 2004
London will miss out on what seemed to be a golden opportunity to showcase one of Britain's most successful Olympic sports in a prestigious international event this summer. It was hoped to stage a modern pentathlon tournament, featuring more than 20 nations, in and around Greenwich Park, where it is planned to feature the sport should the capital win the 2012 bid. But, despite the promise of five-figure financial backing from Mayor Ken Livingstone, UK Sport, the government quango charged with helping to stage major events, have declined to support it. They say it "does not meet the criteria" for funding from their world-class events programme as it does not hold world or European Championship status and "would not represent value for money" in helping to promote the London bid. The decision has left organisers trying to find new sponsors and an alternative venue in the West Country for the 11 July event, which is an important part of Britain's preparations for Athens. The GB Modern Pentathlon Associati
London will miss out on what seemed to be a golden opportunity to showcase one of Britain's most successful Olympic sports in a prestigious international event this summer. It was hoped to stage a modern pentathlon tournament, featuring more than 20 nations, in and around Greenwich Park, where it is planned to feature the sport should the capital win the 2012 bid. But, despite the promise of five-figure financial backing from Mayor Ken Livingstone, UK Sport, the government quango charged with helping to stage major events, have declined to support it. They say it "does not meet the criteria" for funding from their world-class events programme as it does not hold world or European Championship status and "would not represent value for money" in helping to promote the London bid. The decision has left organisers trying to find new sponsors and an alternative venue in the West Country for the 11 July event, which is an important part of Britain's preparations for Athens. The GB Modern Pentathlon Association, being the decent people they are, have bitten the bullet, and say they "understand the reasons" for the rejection. Clearly they do not wish to rock the boat as they are dependent on future funding. Others feel less inhibited. The former sports minister Kate Hoey says: "This would have been a great way of giving a sport which is likely to bring medals in Athens, as it did in Sydney, the exposure it deserves, but it seems all down to the sort of bureaucracy which bedevils British sport. A great opportunity has been missed and when the real reasons get out it may not do London's bid any good at all." The words short and sighted spring to mind.
Top cop gives Athens a vote of confidence
A call from Gianna Angel-opoulos, amid the sound of power hammers and bulldozers hard at work around her, brings personal assurance that the Athens Games will meet all deadlines. The dynamic diva is determined to defeat the doubters and in this respect she has had a little help from a British friend. David Veness, Scotland Yard's head of special operations, has given an interview to the Greek TV channel ERT in which he says he is "enormously impressed" with Greece's Olympic security arrangements. Veness, who chairs the seven-nation Olympic advisory group, insists there has been no specific request for British athletes to take their own armed police. "The primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of the teams is a matter for the Greek authorities," he said. "We are encouraged by the way our Greek colleagues are approaching the challenge. Terrorism is an international problem and it is to their great credit that they are approaching this on an international basis."
Sky weighs in a pound overweight
Sky's Box Office showing of last night's WBC heavyweight title fight between Vitali Klitschko and Corrie Sanders was advertised at the not unreasonable rate of £11.95. But those viewers who booked via the given 0870 number were then informed that an additional £1 charge was being imposed for "administration purposes". True, it was possible to book on screen for the original charge - but only if the set was perman-ently hooked up to a telephone line. Interesting to know exactly what sort of "administration" requires such a heavy hidden extra. Especially as they already make money from the call. Sky says the unpublicised charge, which also applies to Box Office football matches, has been in force since last July. It's about time to be more economical with the economics.
Rebecca Loos may have had a rougher ride, so to speak, had she been born in Malaysia. There the nation's media have been warned by the straight-laced government about giving publicity to local model Sarah Marbeck, who also claims to have been bedded by Becks.
Loos talk may have earned Beckham's ex-PA a fair wad from the British media but Malaysia's deputy information minister, Zainudfin Maidin, has warned newspapers there against "making a hero" out of Marbeck. "She should not be treated as the nation's pride as there are moral issues involved which are not good for the younger generation," he said. "It is not something our country should be proud of. It is very unfortunate that our media has joined the frenzy. The girl has been exposed for money and claims to have slept with Beckham and yet we project it as a good thing." Previously Malaysian newspapers had revelled in the local link to the "international sex scandal" story although they refrained from showing the topless pictures of Marbeck seen here.
Questions are to be raised in parliament about the now confirmed departures from UK Sport of popular chief executive Richard Callicott and anti-doping chief Michele Verroken, and the size of their pay-offs.
As the body is government-funded, the shadow sports minister Lord Moynihan says he will seek answers "in the public interest". UK Sport's new chairman Sue Campbell has declined to reveal either the reasons or the sums involved, although presumably these were given to the Sports Cabinet last week. UK Sport are also splashing out on a media survey in which we are asked among, other things, to rate their effectiveness and whether their money is well spent. No doubt the answers will also be kept under wraps. firstname.lastname@example.org
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