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Mega Events

a bridge too far

Today finally sees the re-opening of Lea Bridge Station, closed for the last 31 years. Trumpeted parenthetically last week in a tweet from the Standard's Ross Lydall as following a "£5m Olympic windfall".


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Olympics Stadium Agreement between London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and West Ham

Below is a link for a copy of the agreement between the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and West Ham regarding the London Olympic stadium referred to as the E20 Stadium, which was released following the Freedom of Information campaign by a coalition of fourteen supporters' associations.


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The Aftermath - of the London2012 stadium

After putting up heroic resistance in the public interest the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) finally gave in and published the details of the contract with West Ham for the London Olympics stadium after being ordered to do so by the Information Tribunal. However, a search of the LLDC website for the contract produces 'no result' and does not provide any trace of the document and nor is it mentioned under 'News' or 'Press Releases'. The full agreement can be found here. Interestingly the details of the contract had not been pursued by any public authority or by GLA Assembly Members, by the European Union or even by rival football clubs like Tottenham Hotspur or Leyton Orient but by Supporters groups from fourteen different clubs. Apparently Boris Johnson had said he would be happy for the contract to be published. If so it is hard to understand why he didn't push for this to happen, as the LLDC is very much his baby, rather than allow it to spend over £21,000 fighting the case.

The BBC outlined the details. The final cost of the stadium is £701million with the cost of conversion £272million, up from the original estimate of £160million. West Ham's contribution to this refit was £15million. It will pay £2.5million rent per year with a scale of charges depending on the club's footballing success or failure. However, it will not pay for a variety of services like security, undersoil heating, floodlighting, cleaning which are worth up to another £2.5million.

The BBC claims the stadium will be a multi-use venue. It is hard to see the point of this statement. It is a 'multi-use' venue because of the enormous amount of money spent on converting it to accommodate athletics and football! However, if a two month window for, in all probability, one major athletics event a year qualifies it as a multi-use venue then this is a strange understanding of multi-use. The fact that music events will also be hosted is hardly unusual for stadiums of this type, many football clubs host such events without this kind of expenditure.

However, in this article the BBC fails to mention the £40million loaned by Newham to West Ham as part of the deal although back in 2011 it reported on concerns in Newham and among some Newham councillors that the deal had little to offer the community and highlighted the control exercised by Newham's Mayor, Robin Wales, who is able to use political patronage to silence opposition in a borough without any non-Labour councillors. The BBC reported:

One serving councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "A significant number of councillors have reservations.
"There are massive doubts over supposed community benefits."
The councillor continued: "Why are we arranging a loan for a private company? West Ham should go to a bank like everybody else.
Councillors are afraid to speak out. This rings alarm bells.
Anita Shields, Independent auditor
"The financial football model is hardly blessed by success."
But not one serving politician will go on the record.
The councillor said: "The problem is the mayoral system.
"People are frightened to go against the mayor. They are frightened of a lack of patronage.
"He's had almost the same executive since 2000 - on £40,000 each. People want a bit of the action."


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Barbaric Sport - a Global Plague by Marc Perelman

Barbaric Sport by Marc PerelmanBarbaric Sport by Marc Perelman


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London Legacy Seminars - don't expect critical thinking

This is the lineup for a panel to discuss the London2012 sports legacy for the London Legacies Group Seminar entitled: 'Has the Sports Legacy from the 2012 lived up to the commitments made?' Every single participant has a connection to the London Olympics.

Richard Sumray: Chair


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Videos from No Eviction for Olympics protest - Tokyo 2020

Two videos from No Eviction for Olympics protest against the eviction of homeless people for Tokyo2020. On January 27th 2016 the contstrucion company tried to seal off Meiji Park, Tokyo, where homeless people have been living, in some cases for years, and where the Olympic stadium is to be constructed. The company, JSC, also tried to cut off water for the homeless people. A protest by the homeless and their supporters succeeded in preventing this. The matter is being heard in court.


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Aftermath 2012 - a tapestry of lies, destruction and theft

The Olympic Park is stuffed with public art designed to mystify and mislead the public, like Boris's folly, the Orbit, a helter skelter without a skelter, which was dreamed up when Boris met Lakshmi in the washroom at Davos in 2009 and was built using steel from the site of killings and torture at the Serb concentration camp at Omarska, Bosnia. The skelter is now being added to make it into what it failed to be in a desperate effort to rescue it from oblivion. Another is RUN, which imaginatively consists of three large letters R U N, while elsewhere there are some upturned crayons called 'steles' stuck in the River Lea.


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Brazil's Dance with the Devil - The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy by Dave Zirin

Brazil's Dance with the Devil by Dave ZirinBrazil's Dance with the Devil by Dave ZirinWritten by Dave Zirin, sports editor of the US newspaper The Nation, published by Haymarket Brazil's Dance with the Devil is a high octane read through the infatuation of Brazil's political elite with mega-events. Written before the 2014 World Cup it is highly relevant to the upcoming Rio Olympic Games. There is plenty of background on the politics of the bid and how it fits into the Lula era. However, its key focus is on the impact on the poorest communities, the favelas. As a sports journalist of unusual stripe Dave Zirin takes a look at significant sports personalities, notably the footballers Socrates and Pele, and how they represent different forces in Brazilian sport and society. Given the political importance of sport and its alleged disconnection from politics it is fascinating to read about Socrates' political classes at Corinthians. Zirin also provides a brief history of recent Olympics and highlights how the Games are about much more than sport, they provide an opportunity to redesign the city, minus the poor.


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row, row, row…

…your boat/
gently up the creek without a paddle

Sometimes the arrogance of these elite athletes (or at least their governing bodies) is beyond parody:

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'Many a Darkly-Woven Lie' - The Aftermath: London2012 compensation battles continue

How appropriate that Pindar's Olympic Ode is quoted at the opening of the Greater London Authority's Olympic Legacy Supplementary Planning Guidance.

Well! these are tales of mystery!
And many a darkly-woven lie
With men will easy credence gain;
While truth, calm truth, may speak in vain,
For eloquence, whose honey’d sway
Our frailer mortal wits obey,
Can honour give to actions ill,
And faith to deeds incredible;
And bitter blame, and praises high,
Fall truest from posterity.

(Translations Of Pindar: The First Olympic Ode)


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