Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport


  1.  The Department for Culture, Media and Sport welcomes the Select Committee's decision to undertake a further inquiry to examine developments since its Fourth Report of Session 1998-99 on Staging International Sporting Events. Although the Committee is familiar with Government policy in this area from its previous inquiry it may be helpful to restate our objectives and to report on progress since the earlier report.

  2.  The Government believes that sport matters and that the staging of major events can play a key role in encouraging a sense of national pride. We believe that in hosting major events which attract worldwide audiences, the UK can be showcased as a vibrant, forward thinking and modern country. The staging of such events can contribute to improving the standing of the UK in international sport and assist in securing a greater number of UK nationals in positions of influence in world governing bodies of sport.

  3.  Since the Committee's previous inquiry on Staging International Sporting Events, the UK has been successful in bidding for and securing the World Indoor Athletics Championships to be held in Birmingham in 2003 and the World Athletics Championships in London in 2005. Work also continues in earnest in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. In addition to these events between March 1999 and April 2000, the UK has staged or successfully been awarded a further 26 World Class Events which have received Lottery grant support from UK Sport.

  4.  Bidding for events and Lottery support are being co-ordinated by UK Sport's Major Events Steering Group which meets five times a year. The Group consists of specialists within the events industry who provide advice and guidance and make recommendations on the levels of support that should be offered to prospective events. As recommended by the Select Committee, this is complemented by the Government and Agencies Committee which held its inaugural meeting on 28 October 1999. This meeting brought together representatives from DCMS, the Home Office, the National Assembly of Wales, Department for Education in Northern Ireland, UK Sport, Local Government Association and British Tourist Authority. It was decided that the Committee should meet annually or on an ad hoc basis where necessary. We envisage it will meet again in the Spring depending on the issues which need to be addressed. Thus, the UK has a framework in place which enables it to take a co-ordinated approach to practical opportunities to bid for major sporting events.

  5.  The UK is also realising benefits in the tourism and hospitality industries from staging major events in the UK such as the Cricket World Cup and Euro '96. In January the British Tourist Authority launched its Sports Tourism Strategy which was jointly supported by Janet Anderson MP, Minister for Tourism, and Kate Hoey MP, Minister for Sport. One of the five strategic objectives of that Strategy is to contribute to successful bids to stage major international sporting events. Furthermore in April, we launched the Sports Strategy, "A Sporting Future for All" which sets out priorities and targets for three main areas: sport in schools; lifelong participation; and excellence and world class achievement.

  6.  Despite the perceived lack of success enjoyed by the UK in the 1980's and 1990's, our achievements this year of being placed 10th overall in the Olympic medal table and 2nd in the Paralympic medal table, are evidence of the dramatic improvements that can be credited to the success of the World Class Events and Performance Programmes. There is still much scope for improvement. We see the successful hosting of major events as an essential part of restoring Britain's prominent place in world sport.


  7.  National governing bodies are responsible for submitting bids for major events, which in most cases are the property of international sports organisations or federations. Bids must be realistic and feasible, have the support of the local authorities, potential for private and commercial partnership must be explored and the right infrastructure and support services must be in place in preparation for the event. An ill-prepared or poorly-managed bid, or a poorly run event not only reflect badly on the UK but can have a detrimental effect on future bids.


  8.  A number of Government Departments have an interest in bids for major events. While DCMS takes the lead, FCO, Home Office, DTI, DETR, DfEE and Health have a part to play. The Government's role is to take a political lead balanced with promotional and diplomatic support. Significant funding for high quality bids can be made available through existing UK Sport and Sport England programmes when strict funding criteria have been met and there is a guaranteed after-use commitment for any facilities created for the event.

  9.  The Committee has stated its interest in a number of events and bids which have either taken place or are in preparation. The Government's views are set out below.


  10.  Tourism in Wales benefited from the staging of the Rugby Union World Cup. It is estimated by the organisers that in excess of 330,000 people visited the country as a result of the competition. The event attracted visitors from all over the world. Positive lessons were learned from the staging of the Rugby World Cup about organising the transport infrastructure, ticket allocations and sales.


  11.  The Cricket World Cup was watched by more people than any previous tournament in the history of the competition. According to research undertaken by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), a cumulative audience of 2.3 billion watched the event in 129 territories, while in the UK there was a cumulative audience of more than 116 million from 553 hours of coverage. Other benefits of the event included a growth in the popularity of the game amongst women and a significant increase in ethnic minority support for cricket in the UK. Every match was played in front of a capacity or near capacity crowd. Staging matches in Ireland and the Netherlands as well as in the UK offered access to a greater range of spectators. There was active encouragement for local communities to become involved and to accept a stake in the ownership of the event.

  12.  Billed as "the Carnival of Cricket" we consider that the Cricket World Cup was a resounding success. The England team's early exit was disappointing. However, despite failing to attract the target of eight sponsors, the ECB state that, after staging costs they generated a surplus of £13.7 million on the event (ECB Annual Report 1999-2000).


  13.  The Government shares the Football Association's disappointment at the failure of the 2006 World Cup bid. Although England's two main competitors in the final rounds of voting—the successful German bid and that of South Africa—had undeniable strengths, the Government believes that the Football Association's bid was the best in technical terms, and that a 2006 World Cup in England would have been a memorable one.

  14.  As the Committee recognised in its previous Report, Staging International Sporting Events, a successful World Cup bid would have brought significant sporting and economic benefits to the UK. That the Football Association, supported by the Government, did not succeed in bringing the tournament to England was not for want of commitment or imagination. In view of FIFA's voting process and the inevitable intrusion of outside factors in its final stages, the Government does not believe that more could have been done to advance England's case for 2006. The Government is grateful to all of those involved in the bid for their efforts.

  15.  The Football Association's campaign was brought in on budget, and the use of Lottery funding of £3.14 million for the bid from Sport England was closely monitored. While the bid was unsuccessful, the efforts of the campaign team, in conjunction with the Government's Special Envoy and the Government's diplomatic posts around the world, have greatly raised the international profile of English football. This higher profile could already be said to have produced benefits. In its previous Report, the Select Committee recognised the importance of increasing the number of British post-holders on sport's international governing bodies. The election of Geoff Thompson, the Football Association's Chairman, to UEFA's Executive Committee, and the increase in the number of representatives of English football on UEFA and FIFA Committees, are at least in part positive effects of the England bid.

  16.  The overall benefits of the bid are wide ranging and for the most part impossible to quantify. However, the excellence of our stadia is now known to all of FIFA's member associations, and it is probable that one effect of the bid team's efforts may be to assist any future UK bid to stage a major football event. It is likely that such events will not be restricted to the World Cup and European Football Championships in future. English football's improved standing, and the contacts and expertise which have been established and developed over the last two and a half years of campaigning, should stand our football authorities in good stead in any future bids.


  17.  The Government has made a clear commitment to ensuring the 2002 Commonwealth Games are a success and sees this as an opportunity to show how well this country can stage major international sports events. The Government appreciates the opportunity of welcoming the sportsmen and women of the Commonwealth to England in HM the Queen's Jubilee year.

  18.  The Rt Hon Ian McCartney MP, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, has played a key role in co-ordinating Government support for the Commonwealth Games principally through his chairing a cross-Government Task Force. Since the Committee's Fourth Report of the 1998-99 Session on Staging Major International Events, considerable progress has been made by Manchester 2002 Limited, assisted by the Government, in its preparations for the Games.

  19.  Manchester 2002 Ltd forecast revenue expenditure of £62 million will be generated from sponsorship, television rights, ticket sales and merchandising and some 30 per cent of this has already been secured. A number of Business Breakfasts have been hosted by the Prime Minister and Ian McCartney for Chairmen and Chief Executives of companies who have shown an interest in sponsorship association. The Government has provided £10.5 million from Spending Review 2000 across 2001-02 and 2002-03 towards the costs of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and Manchester 2002 Ltd will shortly award the contract to run these events. We envisage that the Opening and Closing ceremonies will be a world class showpiece for British creativity. Plans for the nationwide Spirit of Friendship Festival are progressing well and Manchester 2002 Ltd has recently appointed a Festival Director. DCMS is co-ordinating input from its sectors with those of other Departments and keeping Ian McCartney's Task Force informed of progress.

  20.  The construction of the sports venues is on schedule with the aquatics centre completed and now open to the public. The main stadium is on target for completion in March 2002 and the Bolton Arena is scheduled to open in April next year.


  21.  The Government was delighted that UK Athletics was successful in its bid to host the 2003 World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham. The National Indoor Arena is one of the best indoor stadiums in the world and to be awarded the 2003 Championships continues its track record of securing and successfully staging such high profile events.


  22.  The success of UK Athletics in securing the 2005 World Athletics Championships for London at the proposed Lee Valley Stadium in Edmonton vindicated the Government's decision to remove athletics from the new Wembley Stadium. The Government looks forward to a successful championships in a purpose built athletics stadium which will become the permanent national centre for athletics in the UK.

  23.  Plans for the new Lee Valley Stadium are rapidly taking shape, thanks to the efforts of UK Athletics, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and the London Borough of Enfield. The initial feasibility studies were completed early in September and work is now progressing on design and infrastructure issues. The Government is closely monitoring the arrangements for the new stadium and the 2005 World Championships given their importance to the UK's Major Events Strategy. It has established the Lee Valley Stadium Forum, chaired by Kate Hoey MP, the Minister of Sport, to ensure that all key parties to the Lee Valley Stadium project are kept informed of progress and are able to offer views and, if necessary, raise concerns. The Forum has now met on three occasions, most recently on 13 November and is due to meet again in January.


  24.  The Committee specifically requested information on the prospects of a British Olympic bid. The Government is committed to supporting a viable Olympic bid but the decision on whether or not to bid is for the National Olympic Committee—the British Olympic Association (BOA)—who will, no doubt, make clear their views direct to the Committee. To date, the BOA have made clear their view that any UK bid would need to be centred on London to be successful.

  25.  The Government would only support a carefully considered and financially viable bid. The BOA have been carrying out extensive studies on the viability of a future London bid and we expect to receive their conclusions by the end of the year. Once we have received the BOA material, we will need to determine in consultation with colleagues across Government, the BOA, the Mayor of London and the London agencies what further work will be needed to assess the requirements and cost of a London bid.

  26.  The Committee requested a Government assessment of the recent reform process of the International Olympic Committee. Following the Salt Lake City bidding scandal the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have substantially revised their bidding process including a pre-selection stage which draws up a shortlist. The Government welcomed the IOC's inquiry to investigate allegations of corruption as it is imperative that the choice of Olympic venue should be seen to be made in a manner that is transparent, open and fair. The Government fully supported the IOC's efforts to root out any indications of corruption and supported the system of bidding that was recommended by the BOA. The UK welcomes any move to restore confidence in the IOC.

  27.  The Government believes that, working closely with UK Sport, it has the right policies in place to assist sports governing bodies successfully bidding for staging international sporting events in the UK and when those bids succeed to assist governing bodies stage successful events which further enhance the standing of British sport.

December 2000

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 3 April 2001