Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the British Olympic Association


  The British Olympic Association (BOA) was formed at a meeting at the House of Commons on 24 May 1905. It is therefore celebrating its centenary this year.

  The BOA is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Great Britain and Northern Ireland and is therefore responsible for leading and managing the British delegation (known as Team GB) at the Olympic and Olympic Winter Games. The BOA is bound to observe the Olympic Charter as published by the IOC. The Olympic Charter governs the organisation and operation of the Olympic Movement including the roles and responsibilities of NOCs and sets forth the conditions for the celebrations of the Olympic Games.

  The BOA is now a unique blend of elected officials and professional staff. The main body of elected officials, one from each of the British Governing Bodies of the 35 Olympic sports, make up the NOC which is the BOA's decision and policy-making body.

  Six Governing Body representatives from the NOC are also elected to the Executive Board. This Board is involved in more detailed work of the BOA and will also put forward specific proposals for decision by the NOC. Other members of the Executive Board include the Chairman (Lord Colin Moynihan), Vice Chairman (Albert Woods and David Hemery), British IOC Members (HRH The Princess Royal, Craig Reedie, Phil Craven and Dame Mary Glen Haig) and a representative of the British Athletics Commission.

  The head of the professional staff is Simon Clegg, the Chief Executive, who also hold the Olympic post of General Secretary.

  The BOA is a not-for-profit organisation. It receives no funding from Government or the Lottery and therefore relies almost entirely on commercial sponsorship, licensing and fundraising for its income. Any excess of income over expenditure generated by the BOA is reinvested in programme and services provision to Olympic sports and their athletes.


  The Olympic Charter grants the BOA exclusive powers for the representation of Team GB at the Olympic Games including the entry, accreditation, constitution, organisation and leadership of the total British delegation. These powers include setting and enforcing the Olympic Qualifying Standard with each Governing Body and ultimately selecting the team.

  In addition to being responsible for the preparation, support, delivery and management of Team GB to the Olympic Games, it also leads a delegation to the two European Olympic Youth Festivals (Summer and Winter) every two years. In accordance with the Olympic Charter, the BOA also has the responsibility to promote and develop the Olympic Movement in the UK and inspire young people to embrace the ideals and values of Olympic sport. The British Olympic Foundation (BOF) is the charitable arm of the BOA charged with fulfilling these obligations for the BOA.

  To deliver Team GB to the Games and to maximise their potential, the BOA provides many world class services for athletes, coaches, performance directors, team managers and administrators not just at the Olympic Games but over the entire four year period of the Olympiad. Services include the Athlete Passport Scheme which gives over 2,000 elite athletes access to a variety of benefits including free gym membership, discounts from the BOA's sponsors and free access to the expertise of the Olympic Medical Institute (a partnership project with the English Institute of Sport). The BOA's Performance Unit supports the Olympic Governing Bodies in areas such as performance, qualification standards, coaching conferences, team leader development and sports development.

  Crucial to the team's preparation is the various recees for team leaders to the host city to assess the venues and address specific issues face to face with the organisers. Furthermore, the Preparation Camps run by the BOA, such as the Barcelona and Cyprus Holding Camps prior to the Athens Games and in Calgary for our athletes competing in Salt Lake City, provide the critical final preparation and organisation for the Games are seen as almost second to none within the Olympic Movement.

  The BOA is the independent voice of elite and Olympic sport in the UK. It is the BOA who sets the team performance target at each Olympic Games. The BOA has already publicly stated its mission to achieve fourth place in the London 2012 medals table. This requires a step change from 10th position which the British team has occupied in both Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004).


  The Olympic Charter provides that the NOC must approve and endorse any application by a city to be a Host City of the Olympic Games.

  In 1997 the BOA undertook preparatory work assessing the requirements, strategic planning and viability of a London bid. This culminated with a 395 page report being delivered to DCMS in December 2000. The report was presented to the Secretary of State, the Mayor of London, the Opposition frontbench spokespersons, Sport England and UK Sport. In June 2001 a Key Stakeholders Group comprising the BOA, GLA and Government (through DCMS) was established. When the London 2012 bid was launched in May 2003 it was on the platform that the three key stakeholder bodies were working closely together to deliver what was required, much of which would not have been possible in the short time available had it not been for the preceding five years of preparatory work by the BOA.

  Now with a successful bid behind us, the BOA is again one of the three key stakeholder bodies who make up the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG). The Chairman of the BOA sits on the Olympic Board along with the Secretary of State, the Mayor and the Chairman of LOCOG. Both the Chairman and the Chief Executive of the BOA sit on the LOCOG Board. The BOA is dedicated not only to delivering fourth place in the medal table in London in 2012 but also to delivering a lasting legacy for elite sport in the UK and a world class facility that will be the London Olympic Institute.

25 October 2005

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Prepared 2 December 2005