Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by UK Athletics

1.  What is UK Athletics' response to the criticisms by Bromley Council of the process by which Pickett's Lock was selected as the venue for the 2005 World Athletics Championships?

  LB Bromley's criticisms centre on four issues:

    —  Decision-making timescale

    —  Length of a meeting with LB Bromley officers

    —  Lack of transport expertise at this meeting

    —  A subsequent change to certain aspects of the brief

  Taking these issues in turn:

  Timescale—All parties involved would acknowledge that more time to have considered this issue would have been welcome—unfortunately the timetable was set by the need to present our bid to IAAF for the 2005 Championships in April—little more than three months after the decision to remove athletics from Wembley.

  However, there was a structured decision-making process throughout these months, which was facilitated by Sport England, and included input from UK Athletics, UK Sport, DCMS, BOA and the Government Office for London (GOL). Following this process, and after taking into consideration a number of reports, these parties reached a unanimous decision to select Pickett's Lock.

  Length of Meeting—It is correct that an hour was spent with each of the "short-listed" site owners. However, these meetings were held to clarify issues from the written submissions regarding each site, rather than the sole basis on which a decision was made.

  Lack of transport expertise—The use of GOL reports in the selection process gave an objective assessment of the transport situation for each site. Moreover, it was not for reasons of transport accessibility that Crystal Palace was not selected (see below).

  Changing Brief—The brief has indeed been refined over the last year. This is the case with all projects and reflects the input of all partners in the project and a better understanding of the future business case for the National Athletics Centre.

  We would also make the following observations about the LB Bromley evidence:

  We are surprised that LB Bromley, immediately after casting doubt on the ability of the project to be delivered by 2005, call for an independent review of the choice of Pickett's Lock. We believe that the timetable is achievable, but the World Championships will never be held anywhere in London if the location is reviewed every six months.

  It might be useful for Committee members to understand the factors that contributed to the unanimous decision to support Pickett's Lock rather than Crystal Palace despite the many attractions of the latter option:

    —  Site compatibility—Pickett's Lock offers a 125 acre site—ample space for the stadium, High Performance Centre and a permanent warm-up track and throwing field. As the LB Bromley submission shows, it was not proposed to offer this range of facilities at Crystal Palace.

    —  Athletes' accommodation—Middlesex University's proposals for new campuses near to Pickett's Lock were preferable to the multi-site approach offered by LB Bromley.

    —  Olympic Dimension—BOA saw no role for a redeveloped Crystal Palace in an Olympic bid, whereas they believed that Pickett's Lock could play a role in an East London bid.

    —  Viability—This was the crucial factor. The LB Bromley submission (p 21 of the 29 February 2000 document) shows the condition that was put on Crystal Palace being the venue of the National Athletics Centre—full capital and revenue support from Sport England for a separate Lottery application for the CPNSC modernisation project. Sport England, understandably, was unable to give this assurance. In contrast, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority was offering the Pickett's Lock site with capital and revenue contributions.

2.  What discussions has UK Athletics had with the IAAF about the proposal that the capacity of the Pickett's Lock Stadium be 43,000?

  The IAAF has been kept informed of the progress of the Pickett's Lock project throughout its development. Following a specific enquiry on capacity, Istvan Gyulai (IAAF General Secretary) wrote to David Moorcroft on 29 September 2000 to confirm that:

    ". . . the IAAF approve the intention to provide spectator accommodation of between 40-45,00 in the new stadium for the 2005 World Championships in Athletics.

    It would be our preference for the capacity to be at the higher figure of 45,000 but we understand that the exact figure will be dependent on the final design".

3.  Does UK Athletics have any plans to contribute to the capital or revenue funding of the Pickett's Lock Stadium?

  UK Athletics does not have the resources at present to make a capital contribution to the project, except the time of its officers. However, we are hopeful that the continued success of the sport will allow us to contribute to the revenue of the centre in the future.

4.  For both the 2003 and 2005 events, can UK Athletics confirm that EOAs have been signed by the end of January 2001 and who are the parties to each agreement and what financial undertakings have been given by those parties?

  It is usual for EOAs to be signed by the Host Federation (in this case UKA) and the "Host City" authority on the one hand, and the IAAF and its marketing partner ISL on the other. The status of the two contracts are outlined below:


  An agreement between Birmingham City Council (BCC) and UK Athletics to host the event has been reached and a document to clarify the respective financial liabilities is being drafted. It is anticipated that the BCC/UKA agreement will be completed by 15 February.

  Both parties have raised points regarding the EOA and detailed comments have been submitted to the IAAF/ISL. We are awaiting a reply and hopefully will be able to complete the EOA as soon as the BCC/UKA agreement is signed.


  During the bidding process a "Host City" authority did not exist for London. With the subsequent establishment of the Greater London Authority it has been possible for UKA to approach the GLA to take this role. The matter, including financial details, is currently under consideration at the GLA, which is aware of the timescale expected by the IAAF/ISL. It is our hope that an agreement can be in place by 15 February.

  The EOA for the 2005 event is nearly identical to that for 2003, therefore the IAAF/ISL response to comments and amendments, if any, can be incorporated. As soon as the UKA/GLA relationship is in place and the IAAF has responded the EOA for 2005 can be completed.

5.  What is the current estimate of the public subsidy required for running the 2003 and 2005 events?


  Birmingham City Council will submit a report direct to DCMS.


  Sport England has offered "in principle" revenue support of £15m for the event. This must be confirmed through the normal application process. It is anticipated that value-in-kind from other public authorities will be added to this.

6.  What resources will UK Athletics itself be devoting to the running of these events?


  UK Athletics have offered the services of staff for the event, both UKA employees (approximately 14) and honorary officials (approximately 14) that we presently use on our Policy and Support Teams. This contribution has been recognised formally by UK Sport as UKA's "in-kind" contribution to the event.

  We will also be supplying UKA's officials and ancillaries (approximately 120) over the weekend of the Championships.


  The same services given to the 2003 Championships will be available for 2005, though the event, including the IAAF Congress will be over the longer period of 13 days. The sport will also play a major role in mobilising up to 5,000 volunteers to support the event.

7.  What role will these two events play in UK Athletics' sports development strategy?

  The IAAF 2003 Indoor and 2005 Outdoor World Athletics Championships will play an integral part in the successful delivery of "fun to fulfilment", the UK Athletics Development Strategy. Both Championships will be used as a catalyst for developing athletics within schools, athletics clubs and local authorities.

  The focal point of the associated activity programme will be the development of UK-wide athletics festivals (page 24 of "fun to fulfilment"). Each local community athletics festival will involve:

    1.  The development of new and creative athletic opportunities with curriculum time to include:

      (i)  Fun and creative athletic challenges endorsed by UK Athletics stars

      (ii)  Athletics study report resources that promote an integrated and cross curriculum approach

      (iii)  A range of innovative competitive formats built around school sports days

    2.  The creation of varied extra curricular opportunities linking schools to the athletics community, to include:

      (i)  Development of after school feeder clubs

      (ii)  Creation of innovative indoor and outdoor competition formats for use with athletics clubs and local authorities

      (iii)  The training and development of teachers, helpers, coaches and officials involved in the organisation and delivery of the festival programme

      (iv)  A UK-wide athletics clubs recruitment drive

      (v)  Special targeted opportunities to encourage more girls and women, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities into athletics

    3.  An opportunity to raise the profile of athletics and athletes through:

      (i)  Target television and media opportunities

      (ii)  Creation of athletically focused fundraising and charitable initiatives

      (iii)  Athlete visits to local community projects

  The impact of the Championships and related wrap-around activities will produce the sport of athletics with the perfect platform to create long-term excitement, interest and sustain development.

8.  What is the policy of UK Athletics towards the possible Gateshead bid for the 2006 European Athletics Championship?

  In answer to this question, UK Athletics will refer to the relevant paragraphs of a letter sent by David Moorcroft, Chief Executive UK Athletics to Kate Hoey MP, Minister for Sport.

  In our opinion, irrespective of where in this country the World Athletics Championships or European Championships may be held, we would not wish to host both events in successive years. Other than the Olympic Games, the two major events in the athletics programme are the World Championships which happens every two years and the European Championships which is organised on a four year cycle.

  An appropriate analogy might be to consider whether we would wish to host the World Cup Football in one year and the European Nations Championships the following year. It would not make sense in football and it does not make sense in athletics. I believe this is a view that is held by senior officials within European athletics who will not support the notion of the two most significant events on the world calendar being awarded to one country within successive years.

  For Britain to be successful in attracting major events we have to be aware of the preferences of those who will make the final decision. Of all the continents, Europe has the largest representation on the IAAF Council. Those people who chose to be in London in 2005 for their premier event are unlikely to support a return to this country in the following year for the second most important competition on the athletics calendar.

  Britain has never hosted either the World or European Championships and it is vital that the staging of those two events fits into a strategy that considers, as a priority, the best interests of current and future generations of athletes. The Commonwealth Games, World Indoor Championships and the World Championships are all happening within a three year period. From a planning point of view, we would like to build on the success of those events by offering opportunities to a new generation of talent to perform well in a European Championships in this country in either 2010 or 2014.

  Our relationship with Gateshead is very strong. They have a great tradition in athletics and a commitment to elite and grass roots development and we will continue to work with them to help develop our sport.

February 2001

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