Lord Coe cuts staff by half as post-London reality bites


Sebastian Coe has overseen a drastic 50 per cent cut in the number of staff employed by the British Olympic Association as the new chairman attempts to reduce the body's financial "fragility" in the wake of the London Games.

The BOA oversaw Britain's sporting success at last summer's Olympics but funding such a large home team and failure to attract as much commercial revenue as expected left the body facing financial difficulties. Clive Woodward and chief executive Andy Hunt are among those who have departed since the Games as staff numbers have been reduced from the mid-nineties to 45 in what Coe described as a "traumatic" time for the BOA.

"It has been a very difficult period for this organisation," said Coe, who is seeking to take "the fragility out of the balance sheet. We have had a large number of people that left. For some it has been traumatic."

Coe succeeded Colin Moynihan as chairman of the BOA in November and inherited an organisation that faced significant challenges before next year's Sochi Winter Games and the Rio Olympics in 2016. A new plan for the next "quad", the period up to the Rio Games, has been agreed, with the BOA aiming to raise £42m to help send significant, but smaller, teams to the next Winter and Summer Games and, with reduced costs, leave it on a sturdier financial footing.

Coe insists he is "very confident" that target can be reached – the BOA announced Nissan as its first new sponsor, with another to be revealed shortly. Both will be tier one sponsors – an approach adopted from Coe's time in charge of London 2012, with different levels of backing – and some of Nissan's backing will be in kind, via transport for the team at Games time.

"It is tough out there," Coe said, "and most sports will tell you the same. A lot of businesses that partnered around the Games have taken a pause [to] see what is the next move for them." Coe's aim is to get the BOA out of a cycle of "feast to famine, famine to feast". "We have to be more creative," he said. "We should always be living within our means."

Under Moynihan and Hunt, staffing costs rose dramatically to £5.4m for 2011 and even higher for 2012, for which figures are not yet available. It is expected that the 2012 figures will reveal a record funding deficit of £2m. Hunt will be replaced in due course once the new role has been agreed with the board.

Coe is to meet the RFU chief executive, Ian Ritchie, next month to discuss how the British rugby sevens squad will be selected, as well as consulting with the other home unions. Britain plan to field men's and women's teams. The qualifying process has not yet been spelt out, but it is likely the RFU will oversee the process as the Football Association did during the last Olympics. Rugby's Rio debut is more complicated for Team GB because of the need to come through qualifying at tournaments in which England, Wales and Scotland compete separately.

Rory's place is at Rio tee party

Seb Coe has urged golfer Rory McIlroy to compete at the Rio Olympics whether for Britain or Ireland. "I hope Rory's there," Coe said. McIlroy may yet be deemed eligible to play for GB despite representing Ireland in World Cups. The BOA is looking into eligibility rules.

Robin Scott-Elliot

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

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

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk