Paris 2012 Chief: Olympic Stadium Row Due to Poor Legacy Plans

February 1, 2011

The chief of Paris bid 2012 bid committee, closest rivals to the London Olympic Bid, has claimed that the row over the future of the Olympic Stadium is a result of Olympic chiefs not taking legacy plans seriously enough.

Phillipe Baudillon saw his Paris bid narrowly beaten by that of London, for the right to stage the Games after a huge lobbying effort in Singapore in 2005.

Baudillon spoke of his lack of surprise with regards to the uncertainty of the future of London 2012’s main venue, with Premier League soccer teams Tottenham and West Ham both vying to move in.

“I’m not surprised because the process of choosing a host city is not focused on legacy,” said Philippe Baudillon. 

“The 100 people who decide who gets a Games don’t have any incentive to choose the best legacy proposal. It’s not an important parameter for [the International Olympic Committee]. 

“They choose where they think is best for the Olympic brand and London was very good on this [during the bidding race]. 

“Legacy isn’t a problem for the IOC – it’s a problem for the hosts. I think they will have to take legacy into account more, otherwise people will get fed up with paying for something that only lasts 15 days.” 

Baudillon admitted the London 2012 bid team did a better job of selling their strengths than the Paris team, but thinks the IOC must change its selection criteria to reflect changes in the wider world. 

“Thirty years ago there was no talk of legacy, the environment or sustainable development with Olympic bids. It’s coming now but the evolution is very slow and the mindset of the IOC members is also slow,” he added. 

“There’s a gap between what is happening in business and government, and what the IOC is doing. Now we’re in the middle of an economic crisis, legacy planning has become crucial. 

“There have been some good examples, like Barcelona and Sydney, but Beijing, which was a great Games, is having problems with its Olympic infrastructure and Athens is a complete disaster.”