Location of 2012 shooting venue causes consternation
Bisley is out, and Woolwich is not quite in, so a third shooting venue for 2012 Olympics could be on the cards.
That seems to be the situation following an examination by business consultants KPMG on how Olympic costs could be reduced by changing venues.
The consultants looked at four temporary venues affecting equestrianism, basketball, shooting and badminton. After the Olympic Board meeting this week a press release was issued stating that equestrianism and basketball would not be moved, but nothing has been said so far about shooting. And as far as badminton is concerned, I understand negotiations are going on for a move to Wembley.
To return to the much debated issue of shooting, I understand that KPMG has concluded that Bisley is out because it would not save money. The facilities would have to be upgraded, there would be increased costs because of security, a satellite athletes village would have to be built, and it would involve negotiations with some 150 shooting clubs, which use the facilities at the moment.
However, KPMG is still looking at an alternative site to Woolwich in south London, which is not without its problems. The cost there could go up from the original estimate of £20m to £42m. Nothing is being said about the search for an alternative site because I am told of the delicacy of negotiations and commercial sensitivity.
In any event, even the little nugget of information about the KPMG report that has been released so far has come out because of the persistence of London Mayor Boris Johnson.
I understand he told the Olympic Board meeting that the public must be told what the report said. It is also set to be published once certain confidential commercial information is removed from it.
Not surprisingly British Shooting, the elite arm of target shooting, is not amused by what KPMG has done.
Performance director John Leighton-Dyson told me: "If what I have heard is right then this report is vexatious at best and frivolous at worst. The KPMG consultants have had no interface with the governing bodies, indeed their visit to Bisley was clandestine, extremely bizarre.
"Yes, there are issues at Bisley. But they could be solved. The satellite village could be located either at the Royal Holloway College, 11 miles away. Or at Aldershot, eight miles away, both of which will be Olympic centres.
"As for security this a Ministry of Defence site. There is perimeter fencing, also on the south-west margin, the Alexander Barracks.
"The negotiations with the many clubs could be avoided if the right site is chosen at Bisley. Remember Bisley is a 4,000-acre site and an alternative site within the complex has been identified.
"True, Bisley would have to be upgraded to meet Olympic standards. These are higher than for the Commonwealth Games (the shooting for the 2002 Manchester Games was at Bisley) but if what we hear of the revised cost estimates for Woolwich are true it would be cheaper than that.
"It cost about £7.5m to get Bisley ready for the Manchester Games. The estimate to get Bisley ready for the Olympics would be about £25m. We hear Woolwich could now cost £42m. In that case moving to a green-field site in preference to Bisley could hardly be said to be cheaper," added Leighton-Dyson.
A stout defence that reflects the strong feeling in the shooting fraternity that it makes no sense not to have the shooting at Bisley.
When London made its original bid Bisley was the shooting venue. However, that was changed, when after the first cull of potential hosts for the 2012 Games, London came a poor third behind Paris and Madrid. One of the many criticisms of the London bid was it was not compact enough. Move events nearer to London was the IOC advice. So out went Bisley.
Ever since, the shooting fraternity has mounted a vigorous campaign to get Bisley back.
But none of the arguments it has put forward has convinced those in charge of 2012. The KPMG report has merely confirmed the organisers long-held view that Bisley for all its great history and association with British shooting cannot be the place when the best of the shooting world comes to this country in 2012.