Moynihan Claims ‘Good Progress’ in Dispute as Gov. Step In

March 29, 2011

A meeting has been arranged between the UK Government and the British Olympic Association (BOA) for today, March 29, to try to find a solution to the cash row threatening to overshadow the build-up to London 2012.

The chairman of the BOA, Colin Moynihan has been at the centre of the untimely dispute however, he announced that the Government had agreed to try to find an “amicable” solution to the row between themselves and London 2012 (LOCOG) over the argument about profits from next year’s Games.

Moynihan spoke ahead of a press conference unveiling 27 sporting icons as Team GB ambassadors, stating: “I can report that good progress was made through the weekend.

“The Government has agreed to hold a discussion to reach an amicable solution to the current contractual dispute.”

Moynihan is due to meet with the Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson before Britain’s National Olympic Committees gather in London tomorrow afternoon where the topic is top of the agenda.

BOA’s opposition in the dispute, the organisers of London 2012, have not been invited to the meeting which follows criticism from Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt who condemned the row over the weekend.

Robertson added: “The last thing any of us wants is a damaging row lasting the summer. I want to see if there is anything the government can do to bring this row to a conclusion.

“The last thing any of us wants is for this to go on for three or four months and end up at CAS. That would be very bad for sport and for London 2012.

“My role is to look at the overall damage this is doing for London 2012 and for British sport and see if there is anything I can do to help come to a solution.

“London’s Olympics is in great shape – it’s on time and it’s to budget. I’m prepared to do anything I can to reach an end to this dispute.”

After London won the rights to host the Games back in 2005, an agreement was signed meaning that the BOA would be entitled to a cut of any profit after 2012, but only after the cost of the Paralympics has been taken away, potentially limiting the amount they will receive.

The BOA is now disputing the contract they signed six years ago and is taking London 2012 to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Whilst they are involved in legal action against LOCOG, Moynihan and BOA chief executive Andy Hunt will not be permitted to take part in any 2012 Olympic Board meetings.

There is increasing pressure – both domestically and internationally – for Moynihan to drop his legal action with the BOA Chair having already angered the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge by turning down the opportunity earlier this month for him to try to resolve the row.

The IOC last week ruled in favour of London 2012 and Denis Oswald, the chairman of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for London 2012, has warned the BOA that they have no chance of winning their case at CAS.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Oswald stated: “It’s very regrettable that they have and we have to spend time on this. It could have been avoided. 

“The sooner it is settled the better so that we have it behind us.”

The row took a further twist when Neil Wood, the chief financial officer at London 2012, issued a statement refuting Moynihan’s claims that the Olympics could make a profit of £400 million (US$640 million).

“With reference to a claims by the BOA of a meeting last July between LOCOG and the BOA in which statements allegedly were made by me to the effect that the Olympics would make a profit of about £400 million ($640 million) with the Paralympics making a corresponding loss and at a subsequent meeting I allegedly revised this figure down to £300 million ($480 million) – I have never made such statements, which are in fact untrue,” he said.