Olympic bid leaders given caution over celebrities

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The Independent Online

London 2012 bid leaders have been warned not to use their bid ambassadors, David Beckham and Sven Goran Eriksson, in celebrity-style photo-shoots in Singapore next week.

London 2012 bid leaders have been warned not to use their bid ambassadors, David Beckham and Sven Goran Eriksson, in celebrity-style photo-shoots in Singapore next week.

The International Olympic Committee's ethics commission have told all bidding cities that bid ambassadors should only be paraded at official press conferences or media briefings.

The ruling will also affect New York, who will have Muhammad Ali among their delegation, and Madrid, who have Beckham's Real Madrid team-mate Raul.

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe insisted there would be no problems over the ruling and pointed out that Beckham had been involved with promoting sport in east London for some time.

Coe said: "These are not expensive calling cards that we are suddenly bringing out at the last moment - their programme will be absolutely appropriate.

"This is not an orgy of publicity - they are there actually for a purpose and that purpose is their part in our narrative."

Asked why London 2012 had enlisted England head coach Eriksson, Coe replied: "He's the national manager of our national game and the fact he's endorsing the bid having worked in a number of other cities - and has chosen London to make his home - is also part of our narrative."

London 2012 are leaving nothing to chance ahead of the 6 July vote for the Olympic hosts - to the extent that Lord Coe and Keith Mills flew to Singapore on separate planes yesterday in case one of them crashes.

Mills, the chief executive, said: "If, God forbid, one person did not make it, it would mean the bid would still be as strong as if we were both there. It shows this bid is bigger than any one person."

Coe and Mills will lead an advance party of about 20 people and will spend the rest of this week on a small island resort off Singapore, honing their final presentation.

Coe said: "These presentations are going to carry more weight in Singapore than they might have in the past and we want to make sure that we do come out ahead again."

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