Jeremy Hunt, UK Culture Secretary. Photo courtesy: Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for a swift resolution to the current dispute between the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the organising committee for the London 2012 Games (LOCOG).

The BOA, which is effectively seeking a bigger cut of any financial surplus to arise from the Games, is taking its dispute with LOCOG to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. The disagreement escalated late last week when BOA chairman Lord Moynihan and CEO Andy Hunt were barred from LOCOG board meetings.

"This is not the right argument to be having so close to the Olympics in our country," Hunt told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek. "I think it is an extraordinary thing that just over a year before the Games that we are going into this sort of dispute, which frankly is not going to benefit anyone."

Hunt added: "We need to sort it out quickly, it is just very disappointing and I do not think anyone would say it is the right way to be focusing our energies...I can't really see how anyone's going to be a winner from this because there is no more money."

The dispute centres on whether the BOA is entitled to a share of the surplus from the Olympics alone, or the Games and Paralympics combined.

The BOA has insisted the two events should be kept separate on the final balance sheet, but the International Olympic Committee recently backed LOCOG's claim that the Olympics and Paralympic Games should be combined before surplus payments are distributed.


Blame game: London 2012 organisers have pointed the finger at Lord Colin Moynihan Photo: GETTY IMAGESLord Moynihan, the British Olympic Association chairman, is facing a backlash from some of the sports he represents following his decision to pursue a controversial legal action against the London 2012 organising committee.

Moynihan, who along with BOA chief executive Andy Hunt has been suspended from the Locog board until the dispute over Olympic cash has been resolved, will face accusations that he is taking the BOA down a highly damaging path when the leaders of all 33 summer and winter Olympic sports in Britain gather in London on Tuesday for what could be a stormy National Olympic Committee meeting.

Moynihan has written to each of the NOC members setting out the reasons for his legal challenge, but he is certain to face strong opposition.

The head of one national governing body, who asked to remain anonymous, said the stance taken by Moynihan was “unacceptable” and “severely embarrassing” and that he was prepared to “take him on” in Tuesday’s meeting.

He said: “We seem to have alienated the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and now we’ve clearly got difficulties with Locog.” He also branded as “abhorrent” Moynihan’s argument that the Olympics and Paralympics should be separated for accounting purposes to boost the surplus payable to the BOA.

He said: “Where do we stand in terms of our image with the public and the international community if we’ve taken a decision, purely out of avarice, to treat able-bodied and disabled people as a different matter?”

The NOC is the BOA’s policy-making body which re-elected Moynihan as chairman in 2008 and also appoints six board members. Although any decision to halt the legal dispute would rest with the board, a groundswell of opinion against taking the case any further would be impossible to ignore.

One board member said: “I think the board would have to listen to the NOC. They would be fools not to. The board is put in post by the NOC because they are their electorate.”

The legal row centres on how Locog calculates any surplus after the 2012 Games. The BOA is entitled to a 20 per cent cut of the profit but Moynihan believes any surplus should be confined to money generated by the Olympics.

Locog insists the Paralympics, which could make a loss and reduce the amount payable to the BOA, should be included.

The IOC and the IPC have both sided with Locog but Moynihan has refused to back down and is prepared to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

By Duncan Mackay

Colin Moynihan, pictured right and Andy Hunt, pictured left. The row between London 2012 and the British Olympic Association (BOA) escalated further today when chairman Colin Moynihan and chief executive Andy Hunt were excluded from a Board meeting of LOCOG, the Organising Committee.

It was retaliation from London 2012 because the BOA is taking legal action against them in a row over whether their share of profit from the Games should include the cost of the Paralympics.

"Colin Moynihan and Andy Hunt remain directors of LOCOG," said London 2012.

"The LOCOG board has decided to exclude them from Board meetings whilst they are individually and actively involved in pursuing a dispute against LOCOG.

"Both have been invited to send alternate representatives to board meetings.

"The BOA is ably represented on the LOCOG board by HRH the Princess Royal, Sir Craig Reedie, Sir Phil Craven and Adam Pengilly, all of whom are on the BOA Board."

The decision gives lie to the claim by Moynihan and the BOA that the dispute is a "narrow technical dispute" between them and London 2012 and relations have not been affected by the row.

The BOA are claiming their cut of any surplus after the 2012 Games should not include the costs of running the Paralympics, and have ignored an IOC ruling against them to take their claim to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The BOA hit back at the London 2012 decision and said that they would not ban any LOCOG Board members from sitting in their meetings, even though they may be conflicted by having a foot in both camps.

These include the Princess Royal, the President of the BOA, and Sir Craig, who was chairman before he was succeeded by Moynihan in 2005.

"With respect to the British Olympic Association (BOA) Board of Directors, we do not feel a similar action is necessary and we are not taking the same steps as LOCOG," they said in a statement.

"We see no reason to do so.

"We continue to welcome British International Olympic Committee members, all of whom are LOCOG Directors, and their contributions in the interests of the athletes and the success of the Games.

"This decision by LOCOG will have no bearing on our primary responsibility, which is to prepare Team GB for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

"Everyone at the BOA is 100 per cent supportive of the success of London 2012.

"The original vision for London 2012 shines as brightly today as ever."

But, as pressure continued to mount on Moynihan, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has, meanwhile, accused the BOA of "undermining the vision" of London 2012 as one festival of sport.

IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez said in a letter: "The London 2012 Paralympic Games will not make a loss and will more than cover its costs.

"The Games will be a tremendous sporting occasion, featuring 4,200 world-class athletes competing at the top of their game.

"In 2005, the vision for London 2012 - as clearly set out in the bid book - was for one festival of sport, with an integrated Olympic and Paralympic Games, underpinned by a single budget.

"The International Olympic Committee fully supports this position, as it said so clearly last week when it was asked by the BOA to define the surplus of the Games.

"It is very disappointing that this vision is being undermined by the BOA.

"The sooner we can all get back to focusing on the Games, the athletes and the sports, the better."


A general view of the Omega London 2012 Countdown Clock as Team GB Athlete Jess Ennis, LOCOG Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe and Mayor of London Boris Johnson revealed the official Omega London 2012 Countdown Clock marking 500 days to go to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Trafalgar Square on March 13, 2011 in London. Omega is the official timekeepers of the Olympic Games. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for Omega)

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) and OMEGA, official timekeeper for the London 2012 Games, tonight unveiled the Countdown Clock in Trafalgar Square – kicking off the 500-day countdown to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Four Team GB Olympic gold medallists – rowers Pete Reed and Andy Hodge and sailors Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson – revealed the Clock, which counts down to the evening of the 27 July 2012 in days, hours, minutes and seconds.

Present at the event were LOCOG Chair Seb Coe, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, OMEGA ambassador and world champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis, and President of OMEGA Stephen Urquhart.

The launch of the Countdown Clock is a key moment in the build-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is a reminder for people across the UK, as well as international visitors to the capital, that London will soon be hosting the greatest show on earth.

The steel Clock measures 6.5 metres high, five metres long and weighs around four tonnes. Its design reflects the look of the Games, with beams inspired by London and its connection with the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, the home of time.

LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said: ‘The launch of the OMEGA Countdown Clock is an important milestone for any Olympic Games and is something of a tradition within the Olympic Movement. It will be a daily and hourly reminder to everyone who visits Trafalgar Square that the countdown to the start of London 2012 has well and truly begun and that the greatest show on earth is soon coming to our country.

‘Athletes’ careers are based on timing and I hope that this milestone moment excites and inspires them to compete at the highest level in 2012. Athletes hoping to compete in the Olympic Games are in the final stretch of their preparation and the next 500 days will be crucial to them as their dream of competing in a Games comes closer to reality.'


Source: Reuters

By Martyn Herman

Sebastian CoeAs Sebastian Coe walked briskly into a glass-fronted office at the headquarters of London's 2012 Olympic Committee on Monday he passed a grainy black and white picture of the standing high jump at the 1908 Games.

Apart from the outdated technique of the athlete in the photograph taken at London's long-gone White City stadium, the other curiosity was the almost complete lack of spectators.

As tickets for London's third Olympic Games went on sale on Tuesday and a clock in Trafalgar Square began counting down the 500 days before the torch is lit, LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) chairman Coe is confident that filling seats will not be a problem.

So confident in fact that despite having 6.6 million tickets ranging from 20 pounds ($32.35) to 2012 pounds to shift in what Coe called the third-largest online proposition of all time, he was urging fans to "take their time".

Fans in Britain and the European Union have a 42-day period in which to visit LOCOG's official ticket website ( and choose from the 645 separate sessions for the 26 sports at the Games.

One million tickets are also available to overseas fans through their national Olympic associations.

Middle-distance great Coe, known for the smooth acceleration that earned him Olympic golds in Moscow and Los Angeles in 1980 and 1984, said there was no need to sit glued to a laptop on the first day of ticket sales.

"I really hope people don't rush to get their tickets because there's no need to," Coe told Reuters on the 23rd floor of the LOCOG office block that commands views across to the Olympic Stadium and other 2012 venues.

"There is no more statistical chance to get the tickets you want on March 15 than there is on April 26 when the application period closes. The important thing is that people choose the sports, the sessions and the venues they want at their leisure."

Tickets for sessions that are over-subscribed will be allocated by ballot and with 2.5 million tickets priced at 20 pounds or less, and a crack Metropolitan Police team in place to deter fraudsters, Coe is hopeful the seats in the various gleaming venues will be occupied by proper fans.

"Hopefully we'll get the tickets into the hands of the people who really want them at prices they can afford and if you do that they tend to stick in that hand," Coe said.

While tickets to watch Usain Bolt in the 100 metres will be like gold dust, Coe said he was hopeful that even in tough economic times the public would fork out for sports that normally attract little interest in soccer-saturated Britain.

"The opening ceremony has a life of its own and Usian Bolt will be a huge draw. Personally I've always seen the blue riband event as the 1,500 metres but we are also a nation of cyclists and swimmers too and there will be interest across the board," he added.

"I think people will just want a ticket to say they were at the Games that hadn't been in their own backyard for 64 years.

"There is more than a possibility the Games will be a sell-out before the opening ceremony."