Memorandum submitted by Sheffield City
Council and Sheffield International Venues
INQUIRY INTO SECURING A NATIONAL ATHLETICS STADIUMPICKETTS
1.1 In response to the request for written
evidence by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee Sheffield's
submission will focus on the following areas:
background to Sheffield's involvement
in Athletics and the development of its major sports facilities;
the bid for staging the World Championships
in Athletics (WCA) and the development of a National Stadium;
Sheffield's involvement with the
Carter Review; and
the case for Sheffield as a suitable
host venue for the 2005 World Championships in Athletics.
2.1 In the late 1980's and early 1990's
Sheffield invested £139 million in high quality state of
the art sports facilities. This included £29 million for
the development of Don Valley Stadium. The annual capital loan
repayments and revenue costs are met by Sheffield City Council.
2.2 The facilities were completed in time
for Sheffield to stage the 1991 World Student Games (WSG). The
event was the largest multi-sport event to have taken place in
Great Britain for many years and the consensus of opinion was
that the Games were very well run. Primo Nebiolo, the late President
of the IAAF, congratulated Sheffield on the way the Games were
2.3 Since 1990 the city has staged over
400 National and International events. This programme of events
17 World Championships;
15 European Championships;
70 International Championships; and
47 different sports in 25 different
(Annex 1 lists some of the significant
events that have taken place during this period.)
2.4 To deliver such an extensive programme
the city has developed the infrastructure required to stage these
prestigious events and has resulted in the city gaining a world-wide
reputation for staging sports events across numerous national
and international governing bodies.
2.5 Additions to the facility portfolio
in the city will include a Regional Network Centre of the English
Institute of Sport (EIS) (including indoor athletic facilities
linked directly to the stadium) and the National Ice Centre (NIC).
These along with the existing Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield Arena,
Don Valley Bowl and Woodbourn Athletics Stadium will provide one
of the highest concentrations of world-class sports facilities
in the world.
2.6 The Don Valley Stadium is owned by Sheffield
City Trust and managed by Sheffield International Venues.
2.7 Since 1990 the stadium has been the
host venue for athletics events that support the development of
athletics through to IAAF Grand Prix 1 meetings. (Annex 2 details
the events that have taken place during this period at the stadium.)
2.8 From 1990 through to 1998 Don Valley
Stadium was allocated an annual international fixture by the governing
body. These included IAAF permit meetings, Grand Prix 2 and Grand
Prix 1 events.
2.9 During this period, each year the stadium
achieved the highest attendance for athletics events in this country.
This included three capacity crowds of 25,000, the highest recorded
in this country post the London Olympics.
2.10 In 1998 UK Athletics (UKA) assigned
the marketing rights and the operational delivery of the international
fixtures to Fast Track. Between 1999 and 2001 Sheffield has not
been allocated an international fixture by Fast Track. Sheffield
along with other stadium owners (who have been staging these events)
have raised concerns to UKA over the allocation of fixtures and
the effect that this may have on the future of their stadiums.
3. THE BID
3.1 We are not clear on when the decision
was made to bid for the staging of the WCA in London. However
in selecting a potential host venue we are not aware of any consideration
towards existing athletics stadiums or the impact the event may
have on them. If there was any consideration then there was certainly
no direct consultation with Sheffield or Don Valley Stadium.
3.2 The WCA has previously been held in
cities of a comparable size to Sheffield ie Seville, Gothenburg,
Stuttgart, Helsinki and Edmonton.
3.3 It was announced that the proposal was
to stage the event on a platform at the National Stadium, Wembley.
This would then be removed after the event. Sheffield was happy
to support the Wembley proposals as we anticipated the event would
provide a positive impact on athletics in the following years.
3.4 Following the decision to remove athletics
from the Wembley development, proposals were made to establish
a National Stadium for Athletics at Picketts Lock. This caused
concern in Sheffield and other cities that the development would
undermine the viability of other athletic facilities in the country.
To justify a National Stadium it was likely that all the premier
events and many others would be allocated to the venue.
3.5 At a meeting on 6 April at the UK Athletics
offices in Birmingham representatives from Picketts Lock presented
their development plans to the owners of Stadiums in Gateshead,
Birmingham and Sheffield.
3.6 We considered that the development of
Picketts Lock may not actually provide a legacy and catalyst for
the development of the sport. In fact the opposite may occur,
as there was a possibility of a reduction in the number of facilities
for Athletics. Facility owners would have to seriously consider
the investment they put into their facilities if they had no clear
and certain future. Both Birmingham and Gateshead shared our concerns.
The concerns were passed on to UKA and they attempted to work
with the current facility owners to find a new mechanism for allocating
events pre and post the development of a National Stadium.
3.7 It was also apparent to us that there
were potential funding, infrastructure and planning difficulties
for the developers of Picketts Lock to overcome. In May 2001 we
looked at the cost of developing Don Valley and the surrounding
area to the same specification that would be developed at Picketts
Lock. The cost of this was identified as £20 million. This
information was not circulated.
3.8 In early July Sport England deferred
consideration of the Lottery application for Picketts Lock and
asked Patrick Carter to carry out a review.
4. CARTER REVIEW
4.1 The terms of reference for the review
included an assessment of alternative locations for the WCA should
the Picketts Lock development not proceed. Sheffield forwarded
details of its potential as a venue for the event to the Review
team and subsequently we received visits to the stadium on four
4.2 The first two visits provided the opportunity
for members of the review team to look at the facilities available
at the stadium and the proposals for the support facilities in
4.3 Following these initial visits we supplied
additional information to the review team on the following:
the ownership and management of the
Stadium and surrounding facilities;
Sheffield's events experience and
accommodation available in the city
and within one hour's drive. This included detail of accommodation
detail of ancillary facilities in
the Lower Don Valley adjacent to the stadium;
transportation and parking details;
population figures of Sheffield and
detail and pictures of existing facilities
at Don Valley Stadium;
details of the proposed development
of Don Valley and costs to meet the specification identified for
Picketts Lock; and
copies of brochures showing details
of Sheffield Arena, Meadowhall Shopping Complex, Sheffield and
its region, the High Peak including the Chatsworth Estate.
4.4 Subsequent visits by the review team
provided detailed questioning on the information we provided and
issues arising from them.
4.5 Following the first two visits from
the Review team we made the decision to send the Head of the Sheffield
Major Events Team on a fact finding visit to the Championships
in Edmonton, Canada. In our view his report confirmed that Sheffield
was capable of staging the event of 2005.
4.6 Our position throughout this process
has been to provide as clear information as possible about Sheffield,
the facilities we have available and the suitability of these
for staging the 2005 WCA. We recognise that this would only be
relevant if Picketts Lock was not seen as a viable venue for delivering
the event and in turn that the IAAF accept Sheffield as a suitable
4.7 Following the submission of the Carter
report to the Government we have received a further visit from
representatives of DCMS and Sport England requesting clarification
of the Sheffield offer. It was made clear to us that no decision
on Picketts Lock had been taken. We were made aware of the decision
not to proceed with Picketts Lock and to propose Sheffield as
an alternative host city for the WCA on the morning of Thursday
5. THE CASE
THE 2005 WORLD
5.1 There are many reasons why Sheffield
would be a suitable host city for staging this event. Some of
these have already been identified and include:
5.2 ExperienceThe significant experience
and expertise that already exists in the city for delivering major
events. This includes not only sports events (see Annex 1 examples)
for but also the very best in the music and entertainment industry.
5.3 The VenueDon Valley Stadium is
a venue that has already hosted international athletics to capacity
crowds. With investment of £20 million it can provide the
facilities suitable to meet the requirements of IAAF and for staging
the World Championships. It would also provide suitable facilities
to host the events identified by UKA after the staging of the
5.4 Facilities would be completed and ready
by the end of 2004 allowing suitable time for test events if required.
5.5 The revenue funding required for the
stadium is already in place and guaranteed by the City Council
through to 2024.
5.6 The Stadium has hosted numerous concerts
that have attracted an attendance of over 50,000 people. As a
result the infrastructure for traffic management, licensing, emergency
procedures etc are already in place. They have been tried, tested
5.7 With the concentration of facilities
that already exist in the Lower Don Valley plus the development
of the ESI and NIC, the requirements from the event for media,
IAAF, sponsors etc can be catered or on-site in the appropriate
5.8 The LocationThe central location
of Sheffield in the UK plus that of Don Valley Stadium in relation
to the M1 (1 mile) provides an accessible location to attract
capacity crowds. Over seven million people live within a one-hour
drive of the stadium. It is also ideally placed for visitors to
the city and country to see the very best of what the country
has to offer.
5.9 The Volunteersthe network and
database that has become essential for delivering an event of
this size was developed for the WSG in 1991. This has become an
essential component in the city delivering over 400 national and
international events during this period.
5.10 Accommodationthere are over
50,000 beds available within a one hour drive of the stadium.
This includes over 4,500 4*/5* spaces.
5.11 Athlete's AccommodationFacilities
at the University of Sheffield and surrounding hotels provide
an ideal setting for the athletes villages with over 3,000 beds
5.12 Cultural Programmes and FestivalsThese
have become an essential part of delivering major events. Extensive
programmes for the WSG, Euro 96 and the Millennium celebrations
along with the annual festivals that already take place in the
city means the city is ideally placed to deliver the required
5.13 Sheffield has shown a significant commitment
to the provision of athletics facilities and the development of
the sport over the past 11 years. This can be demonstrated by
over £30 million of capital investment and over £8 million
of revenue costs.
6.1 Sheffield is committed (and has been
throughout) to work with Sport England, UK Sport, UK Athletics
and the DCMS to find the best solution for hosting the World Championships
in Athletics 2005.
6.2 We believe that this solution should
meet the Best Value principals and provide a lasting legacy for
the development of Athletics. It should also recognise the role
that the other major athletics facilities in the United Kingdom
have played and the investment made by them in the development
of the sport and the staging of showcase Athletics events.
6.3 Don Valley Stadium and the City of Sheffield
can achieve this. The development of facilities at the Stadium
would make Sheffield an ideal host city to stage the 2005 World
Championships in Athletics. It also provides the most suitable
option available at the present time for staging the event in