(P105) 2012 Olympic bid set for scrapheap

by Denis Campbell, Sports News Correspondent
Observer, Sunday 27 October 2002

BRITAIN'S bid to host the Olympic Games is set to be abandoned because Ministers fear it could turn into a financial and political fiasco.

Senior government figures believe hosting the Games in London in 2012 would lead to transport chaos, endless cost overruns and the building of a "white elephant" stadium.

Chancellor Gordon Brown is just one of a growing number of Ministers who oppose spending up to £2 billion of public money on bringing the Olympics to the capital.

Paul Boateng, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has privately told colleagues it would be 'madness' to lodge an official bid. Even Tessa Jowell, the Culture Media ant Sport Secretary, has expressed serious doubts.

'The spiralling cost of other big projects like the Dome, Jubilee Line Extension, new British Library and wembley Stadium is still fresh in the memory, and who's to say a 2012 Olympics wouldn't become another financial black hole?' said a senior Whitehall source.

With the Olympics now rotated between the five continents, 2012 is seen as 'Europe's turn' and would probably be a straight fight between London and Paris. If London missed out, it would not be able to bid again until 2032.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and the Greater London Authority are strong backers, but no bid will succeed without the Government's backing. Prime Minister Tony Blair will make a final decision by the end of the year.

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Last updated 27/10/02