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  • British Olympic Association Chief Backs Team GB to Deliver at London 2012


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    BOA chairman Colin Moynihan (Getty)
    (ATR) British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan says the BOA's financial dispute with London 2012 has helped benefit Team GB's Olympic ambitions, as he revealed his vision for the Games.

    Speaking about his tough stance during the row with LOCOG, Moynihan said: “I don't regret acting on behalf of the athletes, I will always do that. We came out with an amicable settlement but now that is all behind us. It is very important to the board that every decision is taken on behalf of the athletes."

    “We can now focus 100 percent on delivery of Team GB for the Games. I am looking forward with eager anticipation to the future 12 months.”

    The dispute earlier this year centred on whether the cost of staging the Paralympics should be taken into account in calculating any surplus from the Games. A settlement agreement was signed by both parties in April, and LOCOG agreed to waive rights to royalties on two items of Team GB merchandise and allow the BOA to buy extra Olympics tickets.

    Moynihan's comments came at Tuesday unveiling of Team GB House at Westfield Stratford City to support athletes during the Games. Team GB will occupy a 1,947squ m area on the eighth floor of the office development that overlooks the Olympic Park in east London.

    Olympics minister Hugh Robertson was also in attendance at the BOA briefing and supported the actions taken by the BOA in defending its athletes.

    “I accept the role of the BOA is to fight for sport, and fight for its athletes and doing what it can in their interest and that it could bring them into dispute with organising committees," he said. "It is absolutely their role, and central to the independence of the central role of the BOA which has been a cherished part of British sport for generations."

    The BOA announced that its 550-strong team of athletes would receive $21 million in funding for London 2012.

    Moynihan said most of the funding for Team GB athletes was in place as the BOA seeks to match or improve on its fourth place in the Beijing 2008 Olympics medal table.

    “We've mortgaged nothing for the future to deliver our current plan of more than 500 athletes for next year. We are much stronger than when I arrived, we have the funding in place to meet our targets," he told reporters.

    “I am confident the BOA can manage the pressure in the next 12 months.

    "We have in place one of the strongest national Olympic committees in the world. We have professionalism in every place possible."

    Andy Hunt, the BOA's chief executive and chef de mission for London 2012, said the BOA was spending more on Team GB than ever before for an Olympics but admitted that spend per athlete was slightly down on Beijing 2008 because it was a larger group of athletes.

    “We are totally on budget and on plan. Raising money is never easy, but part of our business is to create assets for sponsors to get involved with our team," he added.

    "We have a unique asset - Team GB. Our aim was to raise £25 million overall, and we've raised circa £15 million so far from Team 2012 [program]."

    "It doesn't mean economic factors might make it more difficult over time, but I believe that right now we will absolutely deliver on the number we need to."

    Other BOA officials spoke excitedly about the new Team GB House and the uniqueness of the set-up for the London Olympics compared to previous Games.

    Chair of the BOA Athletes Commission Sarah Winckless told ATR about her experience of Beijing 2008 and how London would differ.

    “In Beijing, money was no option, the Bird's Nest was the most amazing stadium. But they missed something as well, because they had no ground tickets so even though the stadiums were packed full, the [Olympic] village itself was empty almost soulless. The park wasn't alive," she said.

    “That's something we can learn from, and our Olympic Park does look nice and compact."

    She added: "Londoners will support the Olympics, just look at how many people applied to get tickets to see how much they want to be here. It's a really exciting support we will see for our athletes.”

    Reported by Christian Radnedge in London

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