BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for March 2012

Fifa embraces new ethics drive, but questions remain

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David Bond | 13:21 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2012

Fifa's president Sepp Blatter described it as a historic day. But amid all the talk of progress and reform, this was also a reminder of the dark days Fifa has recently had to endure.

The report by Professor Mark Pieth's Independent Governance Committee will have made some grim reading for Blatter and those executives who have presided over a series of damaging corruption scandals.

"Insufficient", "unconvincing" and "unsatisfactory" was how Prof Pieth's report viewed Fifa's handling of past allegations of misconduct, particularly those involving Blatter's re-election as president and the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

In its 20 page report the IGC sets out how Fifa might start to rebuild trust, starting with a new independent ethics committee with two chambers - one to invstigate claims and another to adjudicate.

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Calm before the storm?

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David Bond | 20:41 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2012

When you consider the white knuckle ride some host cities have given the International Olympic Committee, it's no surprise that Wednesday's Downing Street media conference with International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge and British Prime Minister David Cameron was such a love-in.

At this point before the Athens Games in 2004, there was no roof on the main Olympic stadium in the Greek capital and hardly a ticket had been sold.

London's main venues have all been completed, have sold 4m tickets and have even secured legacy uses for six of the eight arenas on the Olympic Park.

But London's organising committee, Locog, knows there is still a lot of work to be done.

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Will Team GB feel the cost of success?

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David Bond | 08:51 UK time, Friday, 23 March 2012

The launch of Team GB's Olympic kit might have provoked a debate about Stella McCartney's controversial reconstruction of the Union flag - blue, white and very, very blue - but whatever your assessment, the event once again highlighted the commercial opportunities and pressures which exist in this year of all Olympic years.

Getting the balance right between cashing in and keeping your focus on training is a tricky one to pull off - especially for some of our biggest names like Jessica Ennis, Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington.

Those three are probably Team GB's biggest earners, with seven figure sums up for grabs if they can deliver success at a home Games.

Ennis told me this summer was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" which any athlete had to make the most of.

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What will be the true cost of London 2012?

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David Bond | 10:03 UK time, Friday, 9 March 2012

It was only 10 days ago Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson declared that recent worries over the London 2012 budget were subsiding.

Pointing to the £500m of contingency untouched in the last three months, Robertson said he was as confident as he could be that the Games would not exceed the £9.3bn public sector funding package.

Today's report by the Public Accounts Committee seems to agree with him, with PAC chair Margaret Hodge insisting the Games are "on track to be delivered on time and within budget".

But then the report also contradicts that assessment by arguing that the true cost of the Games could be nearer £11bn once the £766m price tag for buying the Olympic Park land and £826m of legacy projects are taken into account.

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London's Olympic legacy not yet assured

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David Bond | 11:17 UK time, Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Legacy. It is now a prerequisite for any potential Olympic host. And it was London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics which set the precedent. Rewind to that triumphant day back in July 2005 and speeches from Sebastian Coe and his team were littered with references to the 'L' word.

In a nutshell, Coe promised London would not only regenerate a run-down part of east London but use the 2012 Games to increase sporting activity in Britain and around the world, particularly among the young. He also promised to re-engage the world with the Olympic movement. And he promised none of the costly venues would become white elephants.

It was a bold vision but proved to be an irresistible argument for the International Olympic Committee, one that ultimately gave London the edge over rivals Paris and Madrid.

But while much hard work has been done and some considerable progress has been made, legacy has consistently been the one area organisers and ministers have struggled with over the last six-and-a-half years.

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