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Mr. Andy Reed : I am delighted to discuss the Bill on Third Reading. It has been a great pleasure to take part in the consideration of the Bill, including in Committee. With sport, we often have cross-party consensus on how we want to deliver legislation. That was reflected both in the bid beforehand and in our consideration of the Bill in Committee. The hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) highlighted the fact that we have managed to maintain that approach so far. There was a slight reluctance on the Government's part to back the bid right from the start before they had carried out a proper assessment. They were concerned about whether it would be possible to maintain the process until 2012, particularly given the way in which the media like to treat these matters, with the British approach of doom and gloom. So far, we have managed to maintain a spirit of optimism, and I hope that the spirit of co-operation that has been evident today and throughout consideration of the Bill in Committee will continue until 2012.
The legacy of the games will be important for each and every one of us, not only for those in London. There will be social and sporting benefits throughout the country. It is imperative that the Bill delivers a sporting legacy that brings about a massive difference for people throughout the United Kingdom. Some people, although not many, do not appreciate the value of sport
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and what it can do for their local community in terms of health, education, crime reduction and purely for its own sake. The warm words that are usually associated with sport have to be turned into action and, harshly, into hard cash. We have warm words for the arts sector, and it receives an enormous amount of Exchequer funding. I wish that we could generate the same level of funding to encourage sporting prowess in this country, especially at grass-roots level, where we still have some work to do.
We have made some tremendous strides in league funding and school sport, and have managed to make up for the past 15 or 20 years of decline. Indeed, that has been turned around. Although we can be proud of being able to generate the next generation of young people who are interested in sport, who have had the opportunity to participate and who now want to carry that through, there is a pyramid. Our elite facilities in Loughborough, Sheffield and Bath are among the best in the world. I am sure that other hon. Members know of other excellent sporting facilities throughout the country, for example in Weymouth and Cardiff. I have been to UWIC to be thrashed by the Welsh at rugby, so I am aware of those great facilities.
Although we have the ability to deliver at league level, to make a difference we must deliver at grass-roots level, so that everyone, when they walk out of their front doors, knows that they have a sporting opportunity in whatever sport they wish to participate in. That may be one of the 28 Olympic sports, but we must ensure that there is the same passion and that the same ability to participate is open to everyone in all the other sports that will not be represented at the Olympics. To make a sporting pun, we should not take our eye off the ball. We must recognise all sporting agendas.
It is my passion that sports volunteers should receive recognition for what happens. At the Olympics, we shall rightly focus on trying to get as many UK athletes, throughout all the sporting agendas, on to the podium. A great deal of effort will be made to ensure that we come fourth, fifth or sixth in the medal table. It would be fantastic if we managed to achieve fourth place. The media will decide whether the Olympic games have been a success or a failure on the basis of the number of people we get on to the podium.
For meI am sure that this applies to the many who are passionate about sportthe real success will be our legacy, participation and generating the next group of people who will volunteer and come through. It has been interesting to be involved in consideration of the Bill because we have been trying to build on our legacy. We have not been waiting for 2012. We cannot call on sports volunteers the week before the Olympics start and say, "Right, you will now wear a blazer and be involved." We must build up the expertise and the volunteer base to ensure that we have people who are fully skilled. We must use the enthusiasm for the Olympics to ensure that that happens.
It was fantastic to be part of that enthusiasm and to see complete strangers hugging each other and jumping for joyI was not among them as I was filming those fantastic events with my camera. I was delighted to be asked to serve on the Committee that considered the Bill. Being from Loughborough, I was excited to be
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involved in the London Olympics Bill, but I did not realise that most of it would be about traffic regulation, brand protection and the establishment of a regional development agency. It was an interesting learning curve. It has been fascinating to discover the process, particularly on brand protection, as I had just a little knowledge of that.
A couple of outstanding issues have been touched on in the debate. We have mentioned betting. I understand that one of the contractual commitments that the Government have given to the IOC is to allow it to controlor even, if it seems appropriate, to prohibitbetting on the Olympics in the UK. I hope that the Minister will write to me on those issues, as although we have touched on them, we have probably not followed them through, and they are clearly important.
The issue of betting has the potential to strike at the integrity of sport. For example, a referee in Germany took bribes to throw particular games and there have been other examples at the Olympics. Cricket has had its own problems over the past few years. Sporting integrity and betting now go together. The IOC has managed to stamp down on the drugs problem, and it would be great to ensure in the build-up to 2012 that we are well ahead of the game as sports betting increasingly becomes an issue.
I am not sure whether we have managed to cover that issue sufficiently during deliberations on the Bill so far, or whether the Minister has plans to introduce any amendments in the Lords to cover the commitment to the IOC and how far that goes. As he knows, there are some problems in the sports betting world over the pools companies no longer entering contractual relationships with the football leagues for the sale of data, particularly match data. That creates another little knock-on problem for grass-roots sport. We talked about that earlier when we discussed the lottery and how the money is distributed. So there are little problems. They may involve only tens of thousands of pounds for some football clubs, but they are important, so I hope that the Minister will examine that matter.
The Minister mentioned ticket touting. The Bill includes some welcome measures to protect the London Olympics from ticket touts. As he knows, ticket touting is a growing problem for sport. It diverts resources from sport and deprives real fans of tickets. When many of us who are passionate about sport and involved at grass-roots level try to get hold of tickets, we find that the corporate packages make it increasingly difficult for genuine fans to do so. That is why I welcome the recent ticket touting summit that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has called with representatives of the major sporting governing bodies. I hope that that is a success.
The Minister will know that the International Rugby Board is a strong supporter of legislation to combat ticket touting. I wonder whether we can build into the Bill measures to extend the same protection as we have given the Olympic team to those involved in other sports. That would be most welcome.
This is a reasonable Bill. It has been fantastic just to play a small part in the process of delivering the Olympics. All of us who have been involved in the Bill will enjoy seeing the end of its passage in this place and look forward with great passion and, as the hon.
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Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) said, excitement to being part of the crowd watching the greatest Olympics that we have known in London in 2012. I hope, too, that people from all over the country, including those who have the potential to play a part in training camps or as volunteers, will enjoy it. We must ensure not only that we enjoy it but that we get up there on the Olympic medal table, and that the lasting legacy is not just those golds but a future for British sport that means that we take it seriously and put our cash where our mouths are.
Mr. Caborn: As I said earlier, it has been a privilege and pleasure to take the Bill through Parliament. The contributions on Third Reading show what the nation was feeling on 6 July. My hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Reed) encapsulated that. Many people stood in Trafalgar square, and some Members were with me in Singapore. I visited my French counterpart, Jean-Francois Lamour, in the hall in Singapore, and I had to squeeze past some 50 or 60 journalists to get to him. Steve Redgrave and David Beckham were involved on our behalf, but we had only three photographers in front of us. I thought, "The result has been leaked and we obviously haven't won." Jacques Rogge kept the world in suspense by delaying opening the envelope containing the result. I point out by way of an aside that as we speak, a silver letter-opener is being made for him, on which is engraved, "Please do not keep the world waiting in anticipation again." When Jacques Rogge finally opened that envelope, he said, "London." Until that moment, a lot of people who wanted us to win the bid did not quite believe that we could do so. Such enthusiasm added to the atmosphere in Trafalgar square and definitely to that in Singapore, and it has carried all the way through. When people look back in years to come, they will recognise that through this Bill, we have established a foundation for an Olympic games that has never been established before.
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and I, along with others, travelled the world to speak to representatives of many of the cities that have hosted the Olympics. We asked one simple question: "What would you do differently if you hosted the games again?" They were very generous in giving advice and we have worked on the basis of it. The product is this Bill, which will deliver a structure that will address, for example, the concerns expressed by the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) about cost overruns. The framework that we have established will be cost-effective, and it is absolutely crucial that in the next 18 months, we get the company up and running, the various structures in place and the contracts laid. We must not get involved in crisis management; we must control the process from start to finish. If we do that, we
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will host a good games. Such an approach will also enable us to tackle seriously the other elements that make an Olympic games highly successful.
One such element is legacy. Other Olympic games have had to resort to crisis management, and we ourselves have done so with certain big projects. We have learned from that. Avoiding the need for crisis management will give us the space in which to develop the games. Legacy, which the Olympic board controls, is a very important issue to which there are many strands: the built environment, the human environment, the sporting infrastructure, and the cultural infrastructure. I hope that after 2012, we will leave behind one of the best sporting infrastructures in the world. Other strands include participation and talent identification. We want the talented athlete scholarship scheme to find talented young people in our secondary schools not by chance but by design, and to maximise their potential for producing world-class performances. Unlike Steve Redgrave and Kelly Holmes, who were discovered by chance, we want such people to be discovered by design. We are instituting that scheme and the mentoring of young students, arranging the curriculum around such activities and taking them through the scheme as one. The Olympic board deals with many such legacy issues, and in turn it is responsible to this House and its organs, such as Select Committees. I am sure that we will deliver in this area.
On betting, the IOC has asked us to look at that issue, but we have made it clear that we have no plans to legislate. We are discussing with the governing bodies how we can assist on the question of ticket-touting, particularly in the light of the electronic means by which touting is now carried out, such as via eBay.
The momentum generated by the great euphoria of 6 July is still there throughout the country. If we can maintain it by developing cultural activities and grass-root sports projects throughout the UKin the regions and through the devolved Administrationswe will have a lasting legacy that will be second to none.
Many of us take seriously the narrative on which we won the gameswhich was reconnecting young people with sport through the five rings and the Olympic movement. While the Bill is about the delivery of the games by the UK, I believe that we have a responsibility to the Olympic movement and the world to use the great influence that we have through the Commonwealth, the European Union and many other institutions to achieve that aim. Seb Coe and those working with him hope that, come 2012, we will deliver the narrative on which, according to the International Olympic Committee, we won the bid and bring young people back into sport through the Olympic movement.
Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.
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