Thursday, 30 September 2010

Games Monitor: "Shame Games"

From Games Monitor:

On Tuesday 28th September (yesterday), Margaret Jaconelli was given 48 hours to leave her premises before being evicted.

Margaret has vowed to fight on for a fair deal rather than accept the risible £30,000 she has been offered for her two-bedroom tenement home. Margaret has lodged a court appeal, but in case this isn’t successful, many have pledged to support her on friday when the baillifs are due.

The media is finally beginning to take notice, and Margaret is getting her chance to speak out to a wider public. The Sun carried the story today, with Margaret responding to the £30,000 valuation:

Where can I buy anything in Glasgow for that?

“All I’m doing is fighting for a home that my husband has worked hard for. I will appeal. I am not for giving up my home.”

BBC News also reported the story in a little more depth, though not entirely accurately (Margaret lives in a tenement, not a ‘tower block’). They quote from a statement Margaret read to the court:

“We’re being told that properties are being pulled down for regeneration but it’s more like degeneration.

“Communities have disappeared and friendships have been lost by the council pulling down large parts of the east end so that it is now reminiscent of Beirut.”

She said she was the “sole survivor of a council policy to raze Dalmarnock to the ground”.

“I’m just a wee person from the east end of Glasgow and all I’m doing is fighting for a home that my husband has worked hard for for 34 years.

“They’re stealing my property after us working so hard for it.”

She also added that she would have difficulty buying her family a “tent or an outside toilet” with the compensation the council are offering.

We totally support Margaret’s struggle for a fair deal. But this isn’t just about one individual. Large-scale regeneration companies and local authorities are increasingly aiming to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to pursue property development strategies.

Running down an area makes it more profitable to invest in as land and rent prices are devalued, meaning that when new investment arrives it becomes possible to extract healthy profits from an area - especially if compensation levels are kept artificially low (or not paid at all) for those who will be displaced.

When people wonder why an area has become so run down, they rarely consider that it might be a deliberate operation of land and housing markets. The consequences of that practice are often devastating for local residents in the way of ‘regeneration’, such as the people of Dalmarnock.

Anyone wanting to support Margaret should contact:

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Delhi Games: 17 times over original budget

There are concerns that building for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, due to start in two months time, may not be complete. And all this, despite the Games being 17 times over-budget! Of course, nothing like that could happen here in Glasgow, now could it...

See more here:

Scots Games chief 'confident' about Delhi event despite claims of delays
Published Date: 04 August 2010

THE head of Scotland's Commonwealth Games team said he is confident it will be able to "cope with all eventualities" in Delhi amid increasing concerns over infrastructure and corruption.

Jon Doig, chief executive of Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS), said he has been reassured by his counterparts in India that "everything will be ready on time," despite mounting criticism of the event. With just two months to go before the opening ceremony, the final preparations for the 2010 Games have been tarnished by construction problems and claims of financial impropriety.

Despite India's hopes that the Games will showcase its emergence as a global economic power, four venues are still under construction, with others the focus of a row over sub-standard work.

A revised deadline for the Games venues to be handed over to event directors passed on Monday, raising concern that athletes' preparations may be jeopardised.

However, Mr Doig, below, said a CGS support team has visited Delhi on the number of occasions, and is prepared for any problems which may arise.

The Delhi Games is already struggling with a budget that has grown to 17 times the original estimate, while the Indian government has this week urged the organising committee to sack two officials at the centre of corruption allegations.

Reports suggest that construction quality certificates inspected so far had turned out to be fake or "suspect", with ongoing work hampered by the annual monsoon, which has submerged approach roads, waterlogged building sites, and exposed leaks in supposedly finished venues.

Meanwhile, a report from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), a government anti-corruption agency, has identified 16 Games construction projects where large-scale financial irregularities are suspected.The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has asked for clarification amid signs that some venues are already showing signs of construction faults.

"We are concerned about the implication of the CVC report. We have written to the OC (Organising Committee] following the report, basically saying that we need assurances from the venue owners … that all venues are fully compliant with government of India laws," CGF chief executive Mike Hooper said.

"Certainly it is of concern and if there are immediate works that need to be done … they must do it in the next 60 days."

His comments followed warnings from Australia's national field hockey coach Ric Charlesworth that the CGF was "very naive" if it continued to believe the assurances from the Games' organisers.Mr Charlesworth said even if the competition arenas were finished, other preparations would not be completed on time."

My concern is that we will get there and have people stuck on the 15th floor with no working lifts, no air-conditioning, electricity going on and off, no water in the taps and poor sewerage."

But Mr Doig, said he was optimistic that the Games, scheduled to begin on 3 October, will prove a success.

"We are in regular contact with the Delhi 2010 Organising Committee and they continue to assure us that everything will be ready on time," he said.

"It is important at this point that we and our athletes retain our focus, and look at what we can control, rather than worrying about what we can't." He added: "Clearly, as at all Games, there will be operational challenges. However, we are confident we have an excellent support team who have visited Delhi and have the experience to cope with all eventualities."

Corruption claims spark furyAN OFFICIAL report into the corruption allegations threatening to cast a shadow over the Delhi Games makes for grim reading.

The findings by the Central Vigilance Commission, India's top anti-corruption agency, ruled that the event infrastructure is in poor shape due to "large-scale corruption, usage of substandard material and repeated delays".

Some venues have been found to have substandard concrete and steel structures, with loose grilles and wiring. With the Indian government eager to see Games organisers dispose of certain officials, the acrimony has led to the leaking of correspondence from a ministerial department.

The letter from the sports ministry, addressed to Organising Committee chair, Suresh Kalmadi, makes clear the discontent. "With the Games just two months away, (such] matters … raise questions of probity and integrity of officers in the OC." "They tarnish the image of the Games and adversely affect its credibility," it adds.

Media coverage, too, has become increasingly negative as the Games approach.

One Indian news magazine dubbed the event the "Shame Games" while a recent newspaper editorial said it was "in danger of becoming an exhibition of ineptitude and incompetence."

Friday, 28 May 2010

Commonwealth Games "consultation" events taking place in June

From Hidden Glasgow:

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games consultation events to take place in Glasgow next month

Consultation events looking at the progress being made on Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games venues and facilities and plans for the legacy from the Games will take place at five centres across the city during June.
The events, entitled, ‘The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games - what does it mean for you?’ will be open to members of the public and community groups.
Councillor Archie Graham, Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, will provide an overview on the work underway across the city to date, in terms of the venues under construction and re-development such as Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls, the National Indoor Sports Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, and plans for the Athletes' Village.
Councillor Graham will also set out the city’s plans and ambitions for how Glasgow will benefit from hosting of the Games and the legacy they will leave behind.
The events will finish with a short workshop session to give people the opportunity to contribute and find out how the Council can help them to get involved in achieving a positive legacy from the Games.

The events are taking place as follows:

• South East Glasgow - Thursday 17 June, 6 - 8pm in Hollybrook School, 135 Hollybrook Street, Govanhill G42 7HU
• North Glasgow - Saturday 19 June, 11am - 1pm at Petershill Park Leisure Centre, 30 Adamswell Street, Springburn G21 4DD
• South West Glasgow - Monday 21 June, 5pm - 7pm in the Palace of Art for Sports Excellence, Bellahouston Park, Bellahouston G41 5BW
• West Glasgow - Thursday 24 June, 5 - 7pm at Scotstoun Stadium, 72 Danes Drive, Scotstoun G14 9HD
• East Glasgow - Friday 25 June, 5pm - 7pm at Dalmarnock Community Centre, 3 Lily Street, Dalmarnock G40 3HE

Councillor Archie Graham, Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, said: “These events will be the next stage of public consultation on both the preparations for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and its legacy. I look forward to hearing people’s views, and to discussing how much progress has been made in getting venues and facilities ready for the Games. As always with consultation events, I would urge everyone interested to come along.”Those who wish to attend the events must register, and should use the following contact details:

South East: 0141 276 9880 /
North: Jennifer Stevenson / / 0141 276 9870
South West: 0141 276 9890 /
West: 0141 276 9900 /
East: Amanda Ritchie / 0141 276 1785 /
Information on the facilities at each event or special requirements for attendees will be available through these numbers.

Sunday, 23 May 2010 "2014 budget now over half-a-billion pounds"

Glasgow 2014 budget now over half-a-billion pounds

Attention: open in a new window.

May 22 - Hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is now predicted to cost more than half a billion pounds, it has been revealed.

A revised balance sheet has put the final total for Glasgow 2014 at more than £523 million ($757 million), more than £150 million ($217 million) over the original bid estimate.

The new figure, which represents the latest in a series of cost increases, was put down to inflation forecasts in the years leading up to the event.

Only six months ago, officials confirmed the budget had risen by £81 million ($117 million) to £454 million ($657 million) as a result of rising broadcasting and legislative costs.

The new figure adds a further £69m ($100 million) to the total.

But John Scott, the chief executive of Glasgow 2014, claimed that the budget remained within what they had originally announced last November.

He said: "The Glasgow 2014 budget remains at £454 million ($657 million) at 2007 prices as announced last November at the budget review.

"As part of the expected follow-up of that review, we have now calculated the projected inflation for each year up to 2014-15.

"The project remains on-budget and on-track to deliver an outstanding Games."

Under the revised budget, the overall operations costs now stand at £193 million ($280 million), with staffing costs in the region of £72 million ($104 million).

The Games will also spend £50 million ($77 million) on communications, and £17 million ($24 million) on marketing and sponsorship.

The Scottish Government is contributing £344 million ($498 million) to Glasgow 2014 with the remainder coming from Glasgow City Council, who are putting in £80 million ($116 million), and commercial income of £100 million ($145 million) raised by the organising committee.

Scott said: "The last 18 months have seen the most significant change to the economy in more than 70 years.

"We now face the challenge of delivering the Commonwealth Games that our Games partners expect during a period of slow recovery from a major economic downturn, with pressure on all public sector and commercial funding budgets."

Shona Robison, Scotland's Minister for Public Health and Sport, said: "The impact of inflation over the next five years does not change the Games budget nor the determination of all those involved to work within that budget."

Friday, 21 May 2010

'No evidence' of Games Benefits

Commonwealth Games logo
Games organisers hope it will leave a positive legacy for public health

There is no evidence that staging the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will have a positive long-term effect on public health, it has been claimed.

Organisers of the 2014 Glasgow games hope the event will inspire local people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

But a study funded by the Medical Research Council has found nothing to confirm expectations about the benefits of previous large sporting events.

The research is published in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Glasgow-based Social and Public Health Sciences Unit.

They set out to assess the effects of major sporting events on the health of the host city's population.

Although it will look absolutely marvellous on our high definition TVs, on the ground I don't think we're going to be seeing much of an improvement in the sporting activities of the people of Glasgow
Dr Gerry Spence
Glasgow GP

Despite reviewing 54 previous studies, their report concluded that the available evidence was "not sufficient to confirm or refute expectations" about the public health impact of large sporting events.

It said: "Future events such as the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, or the 2014 Commonwealth Games, cannot be expected to automatically provide benefits.

"Until decision makers include robust, long-term evaluations as part of their design and implementation of events, it is unclear how the costs of major multi-sport events can be justified in terms of benefits to the host population."

Dr Gerry Spence, a GP in Glasgow's east end where the 2014 games will take place, said it was "a no brainer" that the event would not translate into more sporting activity.

"I think they're going to be portraying sport as an elite activity," he said.

"We're going to see people at the very top of their game who are a completely different shape, and probably colour, from the rest of us.

"Although it will look absolutely marvellous on our high definition TVs, on the ground I don't think we're going to be seeing much of an improvement in the sporting activities of the people of Glasgow."

Glasgow City Council said that it was aware a positive legacy from the games would not occur automatically but was committed to trying to ensure this happened while measuring its success.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Evening Times: "Stadium's steps crumbling after one year"

Of course, the bold and dynamic visionaries at Glasgow City Council and Culture and Sport would never squander public money:

Stadium’s steps crumbling after one year


14 May 2010

Just one year after Glasgow’s showpiece football facilitiy was opened the main entrance is starting to crumble.

Toryglen Regional Football Centre was hailed as a vital bargaining tool in the city’s 2014 Commonwealth Games bid.

But the main access to the centre began to fall apart two months ago – and bosses have still not repaired the steps.

Regulars who use the facility say the fluorescent cones and hazard tape surrounding the entrance are an “embarrassment”.

Tom McQueen, whose seven-a-side team regularly meet at Toryglen, said: “This is meant to be a shining beacon to the rest of the country but having the steps broken for so long is an embarrassment.

“It may seem like a trivial thing but it’s the very first thing visitors see and it’s not exactly subtle, with the cones and the tape.”

Tom’s teammate Kevin Frew, 29, added: “This is an amazing facility and we’re lucky to have it but it doesn’t inspire much confidence when you can’t even get up the front steps.

“It’s only been open a year – you’d think keeping it all in one piece would be a priority.”

When it was opened last April former Scotland manager George Burley said it was the “way forward for Scottish football”. And the £15.7million facility was also praised by football legend Kenny Dalglish.

Toryglen is the first full-size, indoor pitch in Scotland. It was hailed as being a benchmark for other Scottish sport facilities. The centre includes indoor and outdoor pitches and facilities and is part of the Scottish Football Association’s action plan for youth football.

It has a full-size indoor synthetic pitch, a rugby training area and room for 700 spectators. And it features three full-size floodlit synthetic pitches, a full-size grass pitch, a floodlit synthetic five-a-side court and a goalkeepers’ training area. It is expected to be a training location for the 2012 Olympics.

Culture and Sport, which runs the centre, blames the lack of repairs on bad weather.

A spokesman said work cannot be carried out until there is a spell of sunshine. But once repairs can be started they will be paid for by the contractor

A spokesman for Culture and Sport, said: “The repair to the steps requires a sustained period of better weather and will be carried out in the immediate future.

“The cost is covered under the defect liability of the contractor.”

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Well, we've paid for it - that's right, the fabulous new 2014 logo. £95,000 from the public purse. And apparently the "design team" copied it from one of their earlier designs.

Well, at least Glasgow's community centres are to close - now that's progress!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

"An interest in the southern hemisphere"

The visionary who landed Glasgow with the Commonwealth Games has fled Scotland.

Now, does anyone think that there are reasons to question the decision making process in Glasgow City Council?

Or is this all normal?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Shock news! Elite media catches up with anti-Games blogs!

Amazing stuff - after all the boosterism, the total lack of any dissenting voices about the Games, and the huge costs and destruction of communities that always happen with mega-events - now this from the Herald:

Keeping 2014 costs in check deserves a medal

Published on 1 Feb 2010

Brian Currie

It may sound like heresy but there were people who had serious doubts about bidding to bring the Commonwealth Games to Scotland in 2014.

Bitter memories remain of the debt-ridden 1986 Edinburgh Games and the fiasco of bully-boy Robert Maxwell’s intervention to “save” them. Not that having the taxpayer dig deeper to fund the event is unusual: the 1990 Auckland Games lost twice as much as Edinburgh and, more recently, the government had to put up £100m to bail out the 2002 Manchester Games.

This year’s Games in Delhi have been beset by controversy and, only a few weeks ago, it was reported not one of the 17 venues had been completed. The final bill is expected to be 280% over budget. At least the Manchester Games were hugely successful and played a large part in regenerating the city, bringing in investment and creating thousands of jobs.

They were part of the inspiration and justification for Scotland’s bid. The important word in that sentence is Scotland – although Glasgow will benefit most, the bid was made in Scotland’s name and it’s the Scottish taxpayer, not just those who live in the city, who will help pay for it.

That’s why Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee did an invaluable job last week in demanding explanations for the costs. It elicited information from officials which led Tory finance spokesman Derek Brownlee to comment despairingly that this was “just another project out of control” and Labour’s James Kelly to say it was “staggering” that inflation costs had not been factored into the budget.

There were reasons during the Games bidding process for not taking inflation into account, but whether they were sound reasons is another question.

If junketing were a Commonwealth Games sport, federation officials would be gold medal winners, but the number of times the event has been nowhere near the budget estimate suggests they should take a refresher course in basic arithmetic and find a formula allowing bidders accurately to reflect final costs.

Inept answers from the officials appearing before the Audit Committee did little to inspire confidence. Including a contingency fund of £80m, the budget currently stands at £454m. But an answer from Liz Hunter, the Scottish Executive’s director of equalities, social inclusion and sport, suggested the contingency fund would be used to mop up inflation.

That isn’t the understanding of senior people at Glasgow City Council who believe the additional money was to pay for unexpected circumstances such as building or technical problems.

No-one expected to find traces of asbestos on the site of the velodrome in the East End, for example, and that’s what the contingency cash is there for. It’s not just the evidence presented at Holyrood that should raise concerns about what is going on with the preparations. The north-west of England, having learned from the Manchester Games, is working hard to cash in on the 2012 London Olympics

by offering countries training in the area the chance to pre-book for the 2014 Scottish Games.

It’s good business practice and already Australia’s swimmers, athletes from Thailand and around a dozen nations from the Oceania group of countries in the Pacific are either interested or have already signed up to the deal.

Are these initiatives being matched in Scotland? Holyrood committees are often populated by too many inarticulate MSPs unable to formulate questions. However, the Public Audit Committee – and not for the first time under its convener, Hugh Henry – has delivered a wake-up call, on this occasion, to everyone involved in the organisation of Glasgow 2014.

A key part of the bid, the airport rail link, has probably gone for good and austerity will be the economic watchword between now and the Games. There is no scope for a spiralling budget. Mr Henry’s committee has identified serious weaknesses and he will revisit the subject. If it’s not too heretical, some other Holyrood committees might want to do the same.

Sunday, 10 January 2010