Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Name of the Games

In typical British style there was a shared feeling of surprise, faint bewilderment and an attempt at National Pride when it was announced London had won the bid for the 2012 Olympics. In typical French style, and to this day, our competitors for the rival bid across the Channel are still proclaiming "we were robbed". Whatever happened in the backroom to swing the votes in our favour was indubitably tied up with politics and rivalries, much like the Eurovision Song Contest, but at the same time, we must give credit to Lord of The Rings, Seb Coe who proved the UK were still at the front of the track and field.

But were the French robbed?
Well, in typical British style the celebrations lasted a day or so (topped off by that rather bleak performance by.......................) and after that all focus was turned to how much it would cost, who would benefit and how the spoils should be shared between all the nations of the British Isles.
The only thing that has perhaps prevented The Express from running a headline saying "Olympics to cost Brits £65,000 each" or something similar was the story that that 75 per cent of tickets ­a will be open to anyone ­living in the EU.
So just when we were warming to the idea that actually hosting an international event may be more than just a huge expense, we learn that actually, all those British Taxpayers at the bottom of the foodchain of olympic spending wont even have the privilege of buying tickets for the event. In fact, the French can just as easily hop across to London, enjoy the spectacle and return to Gay Paris knowing that they are no less out of pocket for the experience.
Why, then, if 75% of tickets must also go to people in the EU are 75% of the cost of hosting the games not afforded by Brussels?
I'm just waiting for an announcement that some or other event, or Olympic village or something will magically now have to be in Bratislava.
Organisers Locog however have set up a preregistration ticketing site hosted only in the UK in order to avoid a deluge of applications from the EU. Normally overseas purchases would go through the National Olympic Committee of that country but given that European competition law means EU citizens can access the British ballot, it also means British citizens can buy tickets from EU countries through their national Olympic committees, but really, this is not exactly likely to happen. People who register will be able to enter a public ballot more quickly when it opens next spring – although they are not guaranteed to win a place at an Olympic venue.
I urge you nonetheless to sign up. Registration will be open for the next 12 months at or by calling 0844 847 2012.

A country that might not be digging so deep to attend the Games is Greece. The founders of the Olympics instead have a marathon task ahead of them to stay afloat and keep the Eurozone happy. But unfortunately for Greece they are being given very little room to manoeuvre while they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Surely the Greek people themselves would like a say on the situation? Rioting in Athens suggests that a Referendum should be on the cards...but we know how Brussels feels about them...

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