Inside Lines: Fall-out worry as Lords of the rings clash over cash

With exactly 500 days to go from tomorrow before the curtain goes up on the London Olympics, a new event has been added to the programme: the tug of war. Pulling in opposite directions, much to the embarrassment of the International Olympic Committee, are the organisers, Locog, led by Lord Coe, and the British Olympic Association, headed by fellow Tory peer and Olympic medallist Lord Moynihan.

This complicated and increasingly bitter wrangle concerns the divvying up of an anticipated £400 million surplus once the marketing revenue is counted. Locog reckon this should subsidise the loss-making Paralympics while the BOA argue that as the Government are committed to underwriting them, 60 per cent should go into a legacy pot for grass roots and facilities. The IOC have been asked to arbitrate but Moynihan has already passed the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). A legal punch-up between Olympic Board members is rather unseemly at this stage of the Games. While to the public it may seem a tiresome tiff, ominously it is the first major rift in what had seemed to be a smooth passage towards 2012.

Moynihan declines to discuss the issue, saying it is now sub judice, but he insists he remains on good terms with Coe and London mayor Boris Johnson (co-respondents in the case): "This is purely a commercial dispute and should not affect our relationship." Nor, he says, do the BOA need the money to plug the black hole in their own finances, over which eyebrows have been raised as high as some of the salaries paid to senior staff, not least Sir Clive Woodward's reputed £300,000 a year. At the heart of the matter is Moynihan's long-held desire to make the BOA the hub of British sport, rather than the Government agency UK Sport, as is the case with corresponding Olympic bodies in Italy and Germany. It could prove an expensive ambition.

Hoop dreamers

Another reason why the BOA may be strapped for cash is their apparent determination to adhere to the admirable De Coubertin philosophy of taking part being more important than winning by sending even no-hopers to the Games. Costly team sports such as handball, volleyball and water polo have been given the nod without being in sniffing chance of a medal. Today in Lyon, GB's basketballers seek clearance from the international governing body, Fiba, whose secretary general, Patrick Baumann, says: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make Team GB one of the powerhouses of world basketball." Not sure about that, but at least London deserves to see the great Luol Deng of Chicago Bulls grace the Olympic arena in a GB shirt.

Now here's a funny thing

Some funny things may be happening on the way to 2012 but surely none so hilarious as the new cod series on the Games run-in which begins on BBC4 tomorrow night. Twenty Twelve is a satirical skit on what may – or may not – be going on behind the scenes at Games HQ, with much merriment promised. It is along the lines of a smash-hit series on Aussie TV before the Sydney Olympics. Lord Coe was sufficiently unfazed by a script which features the organising committee as a secret front for drugs trafficking and sex slavery to have a cameo role. The fictitious press chief is depicted as something of a harridan, a character far removed, we hasten to add, from 2012's ever-bubbly and helpful Jackie Brock-Doyle.

Garden memories

Exactly 40 years ago last Monday we were privileged to be ringside at Madison Square Garden witnessing the first of Ali and Frazier's titanic trilogies. The $5 million fight changed the face and finances of world heavyweight boxing, for which Messrs Haye and Klitschko should be eternally grateful. Apart from the fantastic duel, our abiding memory is standing next to a trilby-hatted bloke in the gents before it began and being asked: "Who do you fancy, fella?" The enquirer was Frank Sinatra. We hacks were all advised to wear specially provided baseball caps and when we asked why, the wonderfully laconic Garden PR John Condon replied: "Well guys, there are thousands outside fighting to get in and if there's a riot the cops will know which heads to hit and which not to hit." Happy days.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat