BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for July 2011

Olympic Aquatics Centre makes a splash

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David Bond | 16:00 UK time, Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Jacques Rogge says that when he walked into the aquatics centre for the first time today it took his breath away.

"I have been in a lot of venues," he told me today, "but none like this."

Viewed from the outside the beautiful curved roof is spoiled by the huge temporary stands bolted on each side.

But walking inside the Zaha Hadid designed building gives you a totally different perspective and there is no question that the £269m venue is impressive.

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London 2012: One year to go

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David Bond | 14:05 UK time, Tuesday, 26 July 2011

With a year to go to London 2012 it seems a timely moment to ask: what should a British Olympics look like and stand for in the second decade of the 21st century?

The last Games staged here in 1948 were all about austerity as the nation tried to move on from the ravages of the Second World War. Economic - if not geopolitical - comparisons will inevitably be drawn.

Too much can be made of sport's significance in the modern age. But it is undoubtedly true that these Olympics offer a rare opportunity to shine a light on what truly unites and excites this country.

With public confidence in our institutions again shaken by the phone hacking affair, the prospect of a 17-day celebration at the end of a summer which also includes the Queen's diamond jubilee will certainly lift the spirits.

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Fifa still fighting for moral authority to lead the game

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David Bond | 19:07 UK time, Saturday, 23 July 2011

Sepp Blatter will be pleased.

With Fifa's ethics committee throwing the book at Mohamed Bin Hammam, his one-time rival for the presidency, Blatter will feel he has started to deliver on his promises to steer the Fifa ship back onto the right course.

But if Fifa is to regain its moral authority to lead world football, then Saturday's decision to ban Bin Hammam for life for bribery must be the start of a new era for the organisation.

In an article for the New York Times earlier this week, Ronald K Noble, the secretary general of Interpol, underlined the crisis Fifa is facing.

He argued that, at a time when the threat from match fixing has never been greater, "public confidence in Fifa's ability to police itself is at its lowest point ever".

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Time for Fifa to show its teeth

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David Bond | 16:46 UK time, Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The ethics investigation into suspended Fifa executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam will provide the biggest test so far of Sepp Blatter's re-election promise to clean up the disgraced governing body.

Although Bin Hammam denies any wrongdoing he is widely expected to be banned from all football following Friday's hearing in Zurich. But developments in Africa have raised questions over Fifa's enforcement of previous bans against two other football officials punished for breaching its ethics code.

Former Fifa Exco members Slim Aloulou, of Tunisia, and Amadou Diakite, of Mali, were both banned from worldwide football activity after they were accused of accepting bribes to vote for Morocco's failed bid for the 2010 World Cup. The allegations were part of the Sunday Times newspaper Insight investigation into Fifa which led to a total of six officials being banned including, at the time of the ethics hearing last November, two exisiting members of the Fifa executive committee.

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Qatar 'spent big' to win 2022 World Cup

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David Bond | 14:33 UK time, Tuesday, 12 July 2011

One of the areas Hassan al Thawadi refused to discuss during my Newsnight interview with him was the amount of money Qatar spent on its successful World Cup bid.

Despite repeatedly asking him to reveal the bid's budget the former chief executive, now overseeing preparations for the tournament 11 years from now, wouldn't budge.

He argued - perhaps with some justification - that if he opened up Qatar's accounts for public scrutiny then he would be inviting another wave of international opprobrium at the country's vast spending power. He didn't say this but he probably also felt that inferences would once again be drawn about Qatar's methods of winning influence during the controversial two-year campaign.

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