Examination of Witnesses (Questions 327
WEDNESDAY 14 MARCH 2001
Chairman: Sir Rodney, it is a great pleasure
to see you again. Thank you very much indeed for coming to see
us. Mr Fearn will start the questioning.
327. You state that UK Sport has been involved
with over 35 events since mid-1999. What difference do you think
you have made to our success in securing and staging events?
(Mr Callicott) What we have tried to demonstrate is
that we have primary responsibility for all but the "big
four", and the big four are seen as the Olympic Games, the
Commonwealth Games, World Athletics and the World Football. We
have responsibility for those and, in the list we appended in
our submission to you, you will see that even in this year alone
we are staging some three or four world championships like, for
example, World Modern Pentathlon where we have considerable success
from the Olympic Games. The success level, therefore, has meant
that the fact that our athletes are doing well in international
competition has also encouraged people to recognise that Britain
does enjoy a very high reputation internationally for running
events well. From my own experience, when I was in Birmingham
we staged some eleven World and ten European championships in
that city alone. You will see from our appendices that we are
supporting events from all over the United Kingdom, all parts
of the United Kingdom, and events going in as a result of good
relationships with our governing bodies of sport and good relationships
with host cities.
328. So you feel pretty pleased with yourselves?
(Mr Callicott) Never pleased with ourselves! We are
delighted for sport, delighted for the host cities, delighted
that the events have worked and delighted that the United Kingdom
has been able to attract so many sports events.
329. You have already said that United Kingdom
Sport cannot underwrite the 2005 World Athletics Championships
and the Government states that it is giving no funding guarantee
at all. Who do you think should step in there now?
(Mr Callicott) It is not an event for which we have
any responsibility as such. When we were established those four
events were not going to be possible for us to fund in any event;
they are beyond our capacity to underwrite. In normal events,
of course, it is the host city that takes on underwriting and
that seems to be the case everywhere except London. In London
there is clearly a problem and that is a matter for the GLA, for
government and United Kingdom Athletics to resolve in due course,
it seems to me, and whoever is going to take responsibility for
that it is a matter for them to sit round the table and decide.
Somebody will have to sign.
330. It looks very much at the moment as though
nobody is going to do that?
(Mr Callicott) If we have not agreed that by October
when the IAAF Committee come across for its first inspection visit
then we have deep problems.
331. Other than the Olympic Games, do you detect
any need for another 80,000 seater in London itself?
(Mr Callicott) So far we have not been made privy
to the detailed specifications or content of the British Olympic
Association report. I think it would be quite improper for me
to comment on what is proposed since I do not know what is in
that document at this stage.
332. You said elliptically that when you were
created you could not have anything to do with the big four. What,
then, is the point of you being Chief Executive of UK Sport? Forgive
my ignorance but either you have executive authority or you do
not. There is no point in having part authority.
(Mr Callicott) We were given authority for all but
four events and unfortunately for us we were not given the funding
resources available that would be needed in order to take on the
responsibility for something as large as the four events that
have been specified. On the budgets that we have been given, therefore,
it is not possible for us to take any greater involvement. Not
having the Budget means that we cannot take on any greater responsibility.
That does not mean to say that we feel we should be taking on
more responsibility in terms of the big four events since we regard
and are regarded as the United Kingdom's agency for major events
but if we have not got the budgets then we have not been given
the money to make that happen.
(Sir Rodney Walker) When the responsibility for both
the World Class Performance Programme and world class events was
passed to UK Sport a couple of years ago, the money that came
across from the Lottery to enable us to assist in the bidding
for and the staging of world class events was £1.6 million
per annum. With the £1.6 million, we have to assist governing
bodies who are contemplating bidding to stage major events here
and indeed from the same £1.6 million we have to provide
whatever assistance we are able to, to assist people with the
staging of major events. Clearly, the four major events are simply
outwith our ability.
333. You will understand that there may be a
management shortfall in major projects. If we look at the Dome
and Wembley, one is a government run thing; one is a private thing.
Both have been disappointing. To be fair to the Dome, at least
it was built and opened on the day. If there is not to be a dog's
breakfast, if you were to collate intelligence, one body in Britain
has to have it and that is you. Why does not the BOA give you
its 400 page report, for instance? It is impossible for me to
understand all this.
(Sir Rodney Walker) The Chief Executive of the BOA
has advised me that they want to share their report with us at
an early date.
334. If we are going to have collective wisdom,
which is what we want, we have Manchester as the largest sporting
occasion that we will ever host next year, and if we are to put
that collective goodwill together and all that learning and knowledge
which you are involved in, you ought to be the lead partner in
this, not the also ran partner.
(Sir Rodney Walker) You will recall, I am sure, that
three years ago I was asked by Manchester City Council to become
involved in helping resolve what was a complicated situation with
regard to the sporting structure of Manchester. I paid some attention
also to the business plan. I have subsequently left that organisation
and now play no part in what I hope and am sure will be a very
successful event. To give you a specific reply to what our role
is and how we see our involvement in all major events, Mr Scott
(Mr Scott) I think you made a good point about the
importance of a central clearing house, if you like, so that there
is an opportunity to learn and to improve good practice. That
is something that we are doing and we are continually aiming to
improve. A good example of where we have been able to apply the
knowledge that we have acquired to date to the benefit even of
those events that we may not be funding in the long termif
you look, for example, at the World Athletics Championships it
was UK Sport that supported the bid. It was our model that we
had developed on the back of our association with the World Cup
football bid in terms of business plan development and, most importantly,
the budget that we need to put together to get a true understanding
of what these events are going to cost in reflection of the sort
of contractual requirements enabled the English Sports Council
to look at that work in advance and give an in principle support
to the staging of the event. There are tools that we are developing
that do go across all sports. One of our prime ambitions is that
we get more joined up thinking across the sports as well. One
of the things that we despair of is the constant repetition of
much of this learning within the individual sports, which is why
we are now investing very much up front in terms of the initial
thinking behind going for an event, what they want to get out
of it and how they intend to capitalise on that event, rather
than simply coming and saying, "We will grant aid the staging
335. Given the devolution complexities politically
now impacting on what you are trying to do, do you not think the
Minister for Sport should be where Sir Rodney Walker is sitting
and that, in order to bang heads and get joined up thinking, you
need the senior politician to be Chairman of UK Sport?
(Mr Callicott) There may well be some arguments in
support of that proposition but let me point out to you that in
the Ryder Cup bid this year, for example, we have attempted to
get a British bid. There are three bids going forward, one from
Scotland, one from Wales and one from England, despite our efforts
to try and get the three countries to work together to put forward
one bid. The various component bids still feel that, despite the
fact that there are three bids going through from the same country
ultimately, the benefits accruing through both the bidding process
and the benefits accruing if they were successful in bringing
in the bid will not work together on that basis. That we find
extremely frustrating because that means that there are different
parts of the United Kingdom that are not working as the United
336. Therefore, a chairman who was political
would say, "I am sorry, the Government is not going to buy
into this. We are not putting regeneration money in. I am awfully
sorry." We can say that; you cannot.
(Mr Callicott) You could say that, Mr Wyatt; I could
not possibly comment.
337. The issue is serious. The Chairman has
already said, "Look, we are across four or five different
organisations. We want support." It is a big thing for our
society. It changes people's lives. If you put sport facilities
in at the grass roots, you can see the change in the community.
We cannot have all these agencies; it does not make any sense.
(Mr Callicott) If you were to go that route, you would
need to ensure that whoever that person was enjoyed the authority
to be able to overrule the devolved governments both within Scotland,
Wales, Northern Ireland and England. I do not know who that would
be but you would need to ensure that there was that sort of authority
if you were to go that route. The route that we are currently
working on is, faced with devolution, it is an issue that is there.
We do not comment on what it is. We just work on the basis that
it is there. We, I believe, achieve a great deal of cooperation
within our counterparts within the Sports Councils of the four
home countries. Our job therefore is to try and work on the basis
of cooperation, agreement, the selling of the right arguments
and so on.
(Sir Rodney Walker) Could I remind us that there is
in existence a sports cabinet chaired by the Secretary of State.
I think it has probably met three or four times now since its
inception and I believe it is beginning to address some of the
complex difficulties that you have identified.
Derek Wyatt: We only seem to have had
problems put forward. If sport is to have political clout, it
seems to me the chief executive should be in the cabinet and should
be chairman of your body.
338. Can I follow up on the devolution point?
Can I give my wholehearted support to the bid being made by Scotland
for the Ryder Cup. It also has an enormous benefit in that it
is fully supported by the Scottish Executive of the Scottish Parliament.
I do not know about the Welsh bid, but the English bid is certainly
not backed, as far as I am aware, by anybody in the British Parliament
and Government. Is there not something which we ought to be doing
(Mr Callicott) I think you will find that the Northumberland
bid is personally supported by the Prime Minister and the Wales
bid is being supported by the Welsh Assembly. You will understand
our predicament therefore.
339. Gleneagles would be a magnificent site.
(Mr Callicott) I am sure, and I am sure that each
bid in its own way has its own merits. You will understand if
we do not comment because we have had to withdraw from this particular
issue because the bids were going forward regardless.