Inside Lines: Boris Johnson starts race for new supremo of London Sport


Click to follow
The Independent Online

London Mayor Boris Johnson is to hire a new supremo tasked with getting the capital back on its feet – literally. He wants a high-profile figure to take charge of London Sport, a body which aims to co-ordinate a post-Olympics sporting strategy designed to make Londoners fitter and more community-sport conscious.

Applications for the post of chief executive close tomorrow, and the successful candidate will need to be "a stategic thinker and respected leader able to demonstrate excellence in the running of a business". He or she must also have "a practical knowledge of sport and the political environment".

There is already a list of 35 applicants including a number of prominent sports figures. The former Labour sports minister Kate Hoey, who is Johnson's sports adviser, will chair the new board, which has British Swimming's outspoken chief David Sparkes among its members, together with Andy Sutch, chair of the London Federation of Sport and Recreation.

"We want to get more people in London playing and volunteering after the Olympics boost," Hoey said. "The idea is also to bring the strands of sports governance together, encourage young coaches and get more money and sponsorship into sport from the private sector. This is an entirely non-political grass-roots operation and Boris is keen on seeing it through before he steps down. He has been great for London sport and I just hope whoever succeeds him will carry on the good work."

The new CEO will receive £100,000 a year. No doubt the mayor will also throw in a company Boris bike.

Counting them in

As we forecast here last week, referee Charlie Fitch never started the count once Carl Froch had landed that show-closing tranquiliser on the jaw of George Groves on Wembley's bonanza big fight night. The counting, though, has continued all week in the Brentwood offices of Matchroom as the 80,000 sell-out gate receipts and Sky Box Office ancillaries roll in.

It is estimated that the final tally will reach upwards of around £25m and when the outgoings have been been paid (£8m to Froch, £2m to Groves, plus a six-figure sum to imported American MC Michael Buffer, an expensive undercard, the hire of Wembley and its army of workers, payment and air fares for referee and judges from overseas and substantial sanction fees to various boxing authorities, not least the British Board) it will still leave promoter Eddie and dad Barry with a nice little Hearner.

It was a fabulous coup for Fast Eddie, but Hearn Snr also gets some kudos this weekend when he is inducted into Boxing's Hall of Fame in Canesota, New York. Joe Calzaghe, who retired five years ago as undefeated world super-middleweight champion, is similarly honoured. Surely Froch whom he never fought, must be a future contender.

Yes, shadow minister

With the current sports minister, Helen Grant, keeping a relatively low profile, her Westminster shadow, Clive Efford, took the opportunity to raise his with a keynote speech to the Sports Summit organised by the Sport and Recreation Alliance at Chelsea FC last week. And very good he was, too.

An interesting chap, Efford, 47, who could well be Britain's next sports minister. A Millwall supporter and qualified football coach, he is also that rarity – a former London cabbie with left-wing views. He certainly has a decent grasp of sport at grass-roots level.

We also bumped into the former Tory sports minister, Hugh Robertson, now carrying the Middle East portfolio at the Foreign Office, and he laughed knowingly when we suggested that after wrangling with the FA and Premier League, sorting out Syria must be a doddle.