Committee report on 2012 Olympics and Wales

22 May 2009

The Government must ensure that lottery money diverted from Wales to help fund the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics is recouped as soon as possible, MPs say in a report published today

Wales will be disadvantaged by the diversion of lottery money, estimated at £100 million, which will have a long-term impact on grassroots projects: there will be a reduction in new facilities being built and may not be enough money to maintain current structures, the report says.

There is also little evidence that Welsh businesses are benefiting from supply contracts for the Games, despite the Government’s commitment to UK-wide economic opportunities, the report says. Whilst the Committee welcomes the significant supply chain contracts that have been awarded to Welsh businesses, this is only a small fraction of the business opportunities offered by the Games, and the report urges more companies to seize the opportunity to win contracts at a time of recession.

IOC requirements state that an Olympic bid must come from the host city. Whilst the Committee understands this, it says that an opportunity was missed to locate some events in Wales, for example mountain biking and canoeing, and that the decision to build expensive new venues when such facilities already exist in Wales seems misguided.

Wales can benefit from hosting pre-Games training camps and the Committee recognises the potential economic benefits they can bring, in addition to sporting and cultural benefits. The Australian Paralympic Team has already signalled its intention to base itself in Wales prior to the Games, highlighting the first class facilities available there, the report says.

The Committee also emphasises the importance of marketing the Paralympics on the same level as the Olympics. Disability Sports is a great success story for Wales and the report cites the community programme and academy structure as an example from which other UK nations can learn.

The Committee further recommends:

  • marketing related to the Ryder Cup, to be held in Wales in 2010, should provide a platform for promoting tourism to Wales in 2012
  • the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) should establish a direct relationship with the Welsh Assembly Government during the pre-Olympic period, with the involvement of the Wales Office, to ensure the benefits of the Games are maximised in Wales
  • continued lobbying and encouragement for foreign teams to base themselves in Wales during the pre-Games period
  • research by the Olympic Delivery Authority should be undertaken to assess the values of contracts in the supply chain to demonstrate the scale of benefits to businesses in Wales
  • educational and cultural resources must be made available in the Welsh language as soon as possible so that the whole Welsh population can be engaged with the Games

The Chairman of the Committee, Dr Hywel Francis MP, commented:

"It is not yet possible to say how, or even if, Wales will benefit from the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Hardly any events are being held in Wales, despite world-class mountain biking and canoeing facilities; there is a danger that Wales will end up losing out completely if diverted lottery money isn’t recouped quickly.

"There is huge potential for Wales to make a significant contribution to the 2012 Games, in particular its development and promotion of disability sports. The establishment of pre-Games training camps in Wales will allow children and young people to meet international athletes. Our report highlights the commitment already made by the Australian Paralympic team to base itself in Wales and we are delighted to hear this week that the New Zealand Paralympic team will base itself in Swansea prior to the Games. This highlights the first class sporting facilities we have in Wales and will raise Wales’s profile around the world. We hope DCMS, the Wales Office and the Welsh Assembly Government will work together to ensure that Wales is given ample opportunity to reap both the cultural and economic benefits which the Games can bring."

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