Sunday, 6 December 2009

Glasgow Commonwealth Games facing multi-million pound gap

From insidethegames.biz:

Exclusive: Glasgow Commonwealth Games facing multi-million pound gap in budget after Davies report

Sunday, 06 December 2009

By Steven Downes

December 5 - Officials at Glasgow 2014 may be left with a £20 million hole in their budget as a result of the recommendation to drop the Commonwealth Games from Britain’s protected list of free-to-air televised sporting events.

Ben Bradshaw, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, will issue his response soon to the report on TV sport’s "Crown Jewels", which was delivered by David Davies and his committee last month.

There follows a three-month consultation period.

Provided there is not a UK general election before the end of March, Davies's recommendations could come in to force immediately thereafter.

Two small paragraphs of advice contained within the 110-page report passed almost unnoticed when it was published last month.

Yet the recommendations to drop the Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games from the protected list of free-to-air events has caused dismay in Glasgow and London, with one source involved with winter sports describing the suggestion as "deeply disappointing".

Davies's review of the protected list, the first to be conducted since 1998, took nine months, and it clearly struggled to reconcile the aspiration that key events of national interest should be seen by as many of the public as possible, while protecting sports bodies’ ability to generate income from TV rights.
*******************
Commonwealth officials fear that by de-listing the Games, Britain will replace a public-funded monopoly of coverage by the BBC with effectively a commercial monopoly, and one in which the value of the rights are starkly reduced.

The Commonwealth Games has traditionally always received in-depth coverage on the BBC, whether staged at home or abroad.

The BBC has served as host broadcaster at the 1970, 1986 and 2002 Games.

But its estimation of the value of the Games appears to be diminishing: Delhi 2010 is receiving just 60 per cent of the rights fees from the BBC that was paid to the organisers of the 2006 Melbourne Games.

Glasgow 2014, which recently increased its overall budget for staging the Games by £81 million, had based its bid on the BBC being its host broadcaster, setting the cost of hiring broadcast services at £19.3 million while placing the same value on the domestic TV rights "sold" to the BBC.

Full story here

Thursday, 3 December 2009

From London to Glasgow - the disappearing city

A science fiction film about a future London - could just as well be Glasgow (thanks to Games Monitor for posting this one):

"OLYMPICFIELD"

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics: 8 reasons to oppose the games

Resist 2010: Eight Reasons to Oppose the 2010 Winter Olympics. (LOW RES) from BurningFist Media on Vimeo.

Predicting the costs

From Games Monitor:

P R E D I C T I N G T H E C O S T S
AND B E N E F I T S O F
M E G A – S P O R T I N G E V E N T S :
M I S J U D G E M E N T O F O LY M P I C
P R O P O R T I O N S ?

Jonathan Barclay

The economic benefits of hosting mega-sporting events are often exaggerated. Ex-ante impact studies typically overestimate the gains and underestimate the costs involved. It is therefore difficult to explain in economic terms the intense competition among cities to hold such events.

Introduction

In recent years cities have competed
vigorously for the right to host what can be
labelled as ‘mega-events’, namely the
quadrennial Olympic Games and FIFA
Football World Cup. One can afford such a
description when one considers the scale of
these sporting extravaganzas, with in-person
attendance in the millions and television
audiences in the billions.1
There are a variety of reasons why cities
may wish to host these events, the most
compelling being the promise of a vast
economic windfall forecasted by economic
impact studies. Given these forecasts, an
increasing number of developing economies
have joined the bidding frenzy, insisting on
their right to receive a share of the monetary
spoils and hopefully kick-start their
development. It is also evident that cities that
host these events must commit a significant
investment into sports stadia and other
miscellaneous infrastructure. Therefore, the
question is whether the economic benefit
compensates for and outweighs the vast costs
and substantial risks incurred. Are the games
‘fool’s gold’ (Baade and Matheson, 2002) or a
lottery jackpot (Preuss, 2006, p. 183)?

Read more: Games Monitor 2014

US Journalist detained in Canada - because of 2010 Winter Olympics!

From Games Monitor:

Democracy now

Amy Goodman Detained at Canadian Border, Questioned About Speech…and 2010 Olympics

Goodman_web While traveling to Vancouver, Canada to speak at the Vancouver Public Library at a benefit for community radio stations, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and her two colleagues were detained by Canadian authorities. Amy was questioned extensively about the speech she intended to give; their car was gone through by armed border guards, and their papers and laptop computers were scoured. The armed interrogators were particularly interested in whether she would be speaking about the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

BBC: "Venues behind schedule"

From the BBC:

Venues for 2014 'behind schedule'

Artist's impression of velodrome
Work on several of the venues is running behind schedule

More must be done to make sure the cost of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow does not rise again, according to an official report.

The public spending watchdog Audit Scotland said that preparations for the games were progressing but warned that major challenges lay ahead.

The report comes days after the budget for the Games was increased by £81m.

It also said several of the venues were unlikely to be ready by the dates suggested in the original bid.

Earlier this week it emerged that the cost of hosting the Games had risen from £373m to £454m.

Audit Scotland's report was compiled before that budget increase was announced.

Caroline Gardner, deputy auditor general, said: "In the current economic climate public sector finances are already under pressure and it is essential that the organisers keep costs under control.

Unless a firm hand is exercised, this project could spiral out of all control
Bill Aitken MSP
Scottish Conservatives

"They need to continue to monitor and review the budget assumptions regularly."

The report also highlighted how several of the venues will now be ready later than predicted in the bid document.

The National Indoor Sports Arena was due to be complete by next March next year but will now not be ready until the end of 2011.

Fixed deadline

The Cathkin Braes cycling course is now expected to be complete in March 2012, almost three years late, and the refurbishment of Glasgow Green hockey complex and the national swimming centre have also slipped behind schedule.

However, Audit Scotland stressed that all the venues and transport projects would still be delivered in time for the Games beginning in July 2014.

John Baillie, chair of the Accounts Commission, said: "Although a key feature of the bid was that 70% of the infrastructure, including venues, was already in place, delivering a high quality Commonwealth Games to a fixed deadline presents major challenges for the four main organisers.

"It is crucial that risks are well managed as plans progress towards hosting the Games in 2014."

Athletes' Village
A 38.5 hectare athletes' village will be built in Dalmarnock for the Games

Glasgow Conservative MSP Bill Aitken called for a parliamentary statement on the issue.

He said: "Unless a firm hand is exercised, this project could spiral out of all control.

"Taxpayers need to know which budget will bear the costs and what else will be cut to pay for the increased costs."

Labour agreed that a "firm hand" was needed "to prevent any overrun" and the Liberal Democrats said the Games budget was likely to "creep up" with the Scottish government's budget being "raided to plug the gaps".

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "The Audit Scotland study is a snapshot of Games planning activity up to August 2009.

"The Government and our Games partners have made substantial progress in recent months and this has a bearing on many of the findings.

She added: "Most significantly, the Games partners recognised the risk posed by an insufficient budget to the successful delivery of the Games and our ability to secure a lasting legacy.

"That is why the organising committee announced a budget increase of £81m. Audit Scotland have recommended, this will help to manage one of the major risks facing the Games."

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

FT: "Glasgow games hit by high broadcast cost"

From the Financial Times

Glasgow games hit by high broadcasting cost

By Andrew Bolger, Scotland Correspondent

Published: November 16 2009 14:17 | Last updated: November 16 2009 18:47

The high cost of broadcasting sports events has been partly blamed by organisers of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow for the need to increase their budget by almost a quarter to almost half-a-billion pounds.

The games will be broadcast in high definition and will require additional facilities to enable viewers to select multiple events using “red button” digital options.

When the games were held in Manchester in 2002 the BBC covered the total broadcasting costs. However, the BBC could not commit to this at present, the games organisers said on Monday, while the market value of the broadcasting rights had fallen. They therefore had to allow for “a potential multi-million pound deficit”.

Most of the £81m increase to the budget, taking it to £454m, will be met by the Scottish government, although Glasgow city council will contribute an extra £9m and a further £13m will be raised from commercial activities.

Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister, said the increase was challenging for the public purse but insisted the games would boost business and tourism. “The fact that 70 per cent of the games venues are already built will help guarantee no further pressure on the public purse,” he said.

But Murdo Fraser, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said it was “appalling” that public projects exceeded their budgets in a recession.

“We are already £80m over budget and the games are still five years away. Is this going to be another disaster on the scale of the Scottish parliament?”

The cost of Holyrood grew almost 10 times between 1997 and 2003.

The games organising committee said it had increased its contingency fund from £40m to £60m, partly to cover the risks involved in converting Scotland’s national football stadium at Hampden into an athletics facility, which will require the field to be raised by 1.5m.

The committee believed 10 per cent more staff would be required during the games – 100 more than proposed in the original bid.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Who'd a-thunk it?

From BBC Online:

Cost of 2014 Games 'set to soar'

The budget for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is to be increased by £80m, BBC Scotland understands.

The bulk of the money will come from the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council.

It is thought some of the extra cash will be used to enable the games to be broadcast on high definition TV.

The original budget for the games was set at £373m but more funds are said to be required as a result of the global economic recession.

It is understood global economic circumstances have changed the figures originally outlined to cover the cost of staging the games.

An announcement on the additional funding is expected to be made early next week.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A Glasgwegian writes...

From Glasgow Guide - a writer discusses the plans for redudancy for over 50s in Glasgow City Council:

The terms of Redundancy may look good, but anyone accepting them should remember they will have quite a few years to wait before they can claim SRP.

This crowd on the Council must be the worse crowd to run Glasgow that I can remember.

The City is dirty and needs a good clean up. The cracks in our roads and pavements are terrible.
I know a lot of people are responsible for the litter, but we do need more litter bins in all our streets.

In July they sent men round our area covering the pavements with a thin covering of tar which is already cracked and full of lumps. There is grass growing in the middle of the pavements.

As the area we live in is a small private estate, I am seriously thinking of sending a registered letter to the Council informing them that if anyone slips on the grassy pavement and injures themself outside our house, they the Council will be held responsible and liable to be sued and not us.

We have trees so tall and wide they are against our hall and bedroom windows. This is on ground maintained by the Council for which the builders of the houses pay Glasgow Council for maintenance.

A neighbour in her 80s asked the Council to cut the trees back and was told to get it done and pay for it herself.

It is obvious those in the Council knew the city could not afford the Commonwealth Games. But no doubt they will tell us the City will gain from it as there will a lot of money spent by all the people coming to Glasgow to see the Games.

When the next Council election comes along we should not elect anyone age 50 yrs or over.

Monday, 12 October 2009

"A legacy for the 2014 Commonwealth Games"

From the Daily Record:


CalMac boss keeps his job after repaying £13K following expenses probe

Oct 12 2009 David Taylor

A BOSS at a ferry company funded by public money has been forced to pay back almost £13,000 of taxpayers' cash after a probe into his expenses.

Alan Moffat, human resources director of CalMac, claimed thousands of pounds for takeaway meals, hotel bills made out in his wife's name and alcohol bought near his home when he was not working.

Moffat, 54, who lives in Bearsden, near Glasgow, was issued with a final warning but was allowed to keep his job after paying back £12,899 last month.

Following an investigation by forensic accountancy firm KPMG, Moffat was found to have altered receipts and provided others which had no bearing to the claims.

He was reimbursed for cash he spent at McDonald's, Domino Pizza, Dobbie's Garden Centre, and the Ashoka Indian restaurant near his home. Moffat paid back cash including £4968 blown on takeaways, £1426 spent in convenience stores and £39 for a home internet connection.

Accountants also found "frequent reimbursement for costs relating to Victoria Wine where the date and time on the receipt is a Friday evening or weekend".

He also claimed for petrol and diesel fuel, even though his company car runs on diesel.

CalMac is owned by the Scottish Government. Its parent firm David MacBrayne accepted other claims he made as being genuine, including £1750 for staying in five-star hotels, £48.50 for roses sent to his home and £137 for a Swarovski crystal figurine.

His wife, Jillian, is a senior executive at jobs quango Scottish Enterprise, and is in charge of ensuring a business legacy for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

A spokesman for David MacBrayne said: "We are entirely satisfied that there was no intention to defraud."

Friday, 2 October 2009

Glasgow construction volume "plummets"

From regen.net

Glasgow construction volume "plummets"

Christian Duffin, Regen.net, 2 October 2009

The volume of construction work underway in Glasgow has plummeted because of the recession, a study has found.

A survey carried out by commercial property consultancy Drivers Jonas found that 13 developments are currently under construction in Glasgow, compared to 30 last year.

The survey found that no new schemes started construction in 2009, compared to 11 in 2008.

There are only 122 residential housing units set for completion this year, substantially lower than the 580 annual average over the last nine years, according to the survey.

Several hotel developments have been delayed, including the Jumeirah Glasgow Hotel and the Bothwell Plaza, which have dented plans to add 3,000 hotel bedrooms by 2014, when the city hosts the Commonwealth Games, according to Drivers Jonas.

Alasdair Ramsay, a partner at Drivers Jonas in Scotland, said: "The research shows there is little construction activity in Glasgow city centre. However, the developments that have taken place in recent years have reinforced confidence in the city. Plans are currently being prepared for several commercial developments, even during the recession."

The survey can be seen here

Thursday, 3 September 2009

BBC: "We will vigorously question the Commonwealth Games project"

Dear Mr ...

Thank you for your comments on our coverage of the Commonwealth Games project.

Please accept our apologies for the long delay in replying. We know our correspondents appreciate a quick response and we are sorry you have had to wait on this occasion.

I have passed these on to the reporter Hayley Millar. I can assure you that we will vigorously question the Commonwealth Games project as it progresses from now to 2014.

Thank you for your interest and your concerns.

Regards,

Atholl Duncan
Head of News



---------Original Message-------------


As there has *never* been a successful "regeneration" project carried out by Glasgow City Council or any of its friends in private industry, why was Hayley Miller's report on the the Commonwealth Games so devoid of any substantive criticism? Am I paying a licence fee in order to hear propaganda from the likes of Steven Purcell, who has never seen a demolition or school closing he didn't like? Any chance the lack of critical voices will be rectified?

Friday, 28 August 2009

Commonwealth Games "Health Impact Assessment"

You may have seen surveys if you went to your doctors surgery recently. They were asking you why did you think the Commonwealth Games would be great, etc. Anyways, the results were to be posted on the Council's website in August - well, basically, now.

But the results aren't up yet.

Maybe Jo-Ann Welsh knows - why not drop her an email: joann.welsh@glasgow.gov.uk, or better yet, give her a ring: 0141 287 4460.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Ardenlea St Dalmarnock

From Games Monitor 2014:

Ardenlea St in Dalmarnock is the site of the new Athletes Village for the Commonwealth Games. Margaret Jaconelli purchased her flat in 1976 and she and her family have lived alone on Ardenlea St. for the past 5 years. All the other tenants were rehoused and now the council are threatening to evict Margaret and her family. Her story can be viewed in the film clip below:

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Games Monitor 2014

There's a new website looking at the Commonwealth Games:

http://gamesmonitor2014.wordpress.com/

What is the Games Monitor?

The Games Monitor is an emerging group, or network, of people raising awareness about the impacts of ‘regeneration’ via the Commonwealth Games 2014 (CG 2014), and the Clyde Gateway Intiative (CGI).

Who are the people behind the Games Monitor?

We come from many different backgrounds: locals, activists, campaigners, academics. We are not backed by any political party/organisation, and none of us receive any money for the voluntary work we do with the Monitor. We are always happy to include more people in the group.

What does the Games Monitor do?

Our blog provides a clear, critical and accessible point of information about developments in the East End. We intend this site to be a hub for information exchange, publication and solidarity networking. We also want to start establishing contact with other groups in the area, who are concerned about the impacts of the Games.

What’s wrong with hosting the Games? Won’t it bring benefits to the people of the East end in Glasgow?

Despite all the hype, the lessons from many previous ‘mega-events’ like the Commonwealth Games, is that they typically run over budget; that ‘regeneration’ often causes displacement because of rising rents and prices; that there are often harmful environmental costs due to construction and road-building; and overall, that these types of events are typically more about private property development and ‘city-building’ (building an image of the city) than about the needs of local people.

But won’t the Games and the Clyde Gateway development go ahead anyway?

Yes, but we want to make sure that as many local people are involved in the process as possible, and that the real needs of the people of the East End are given voice, and have a chance to influence the outcomes of what is after all, the biggest regeneration programme in Scotland.

How can I get involved?

Check our contact page for our e-mail address. We hold regular meetings, and we intend to hold public meetings, conduct local history walks and make contact with other groups in the area. If you have any ideas you want to involve us in, or any information you want to share, then let us know and we’ll be happy to work alongside you for a better Glasgow East.