Robertson steps in as Olympic spat threatens to hurt London's reputation
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Tuesday 29 March 2011
Hugh Robertson, the Sports Minister, will meet with British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan this morning in an attempt to end the financial dispute between the BOA and the organisers of next year's London Games.
Moynihan, himself a former Sports Minister under Margaret Thatcher, requested the meeting as pressure mounts on the BOA to back down in their demands for a greater cut of any profits from the 2012 Olympics. It is expected to be only a brief discussion but the government are keen to see a quick resolution to what is regarded as an arcane technical row that should never have been allowed to escalate. Last week Locog, the organising committee, barred Moynihan and Andy Hunt, the chief executive, from their board meetings until the matter is settled.
The BOA have taken the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to the irritation of all other interested parties. Preparations for the Games have largely gone smoothly in comparison to previous Olympics and there is a degree of frustration in government circles over the BOA's position, although the request for a meeting has raised hopes that the matter may be resolved before the CAS delivers its verdict.
This week the International Olympic Committee conduct their latest inspection of London's progress and yesterday Denis Oswald, the head of the inspection team, warned that the spat is damaging the city's reputation. Oswald said: "It's bad for the image. Traditionally the [organising committee] and the national Olympic committee have to work together for the success of the games, but if they work against each other you can doubt it will help the success of the games."
The IOC have already ruled in Locog's favour and Oswald insists CAS will come to the same conclusion. He said: "There is some pressure on BOA to give up their case. I don't see how CAS would decide differently from what the IOC has decided. The facts are there."
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