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2012 Olympics will 'not be another Wembley debacle'

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Olympic bigwigs have pledged that the 2012 London Olympic Games will 'not be another Wembley fiasco'.

In a speech to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday (24 October), London Olympics Organising Committee chief executive Paul Deighton said he was certain that the money was there to stage the games on time and on budget.

'We are certainly confident at this stage that the sources of revenue are sufficient to leave the organising committee with revenues to match our expenditure,' he said.

'I do not think there has been an Olympics in history that has been late and I do not have any intention of breaking that record.'

Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chief executive David Higgins said that the Wembley stadium saga should be used as a lesson to everyone involved in the Games and has taught them the 'absolute importance of planning'.

'If you start construction, people start changing scope, costs escalate and start going out of control,' he said.

Higgins asserted again that the HOK Sport-designed main stadium - which will remain after the Games, albeit in a smaller capacity - will not be another white elephant.

'It will be an asset,' he said. 'It will be built with public money and if we can get a football club in there to mitigate the operating costs, we will welcome that.'

Higgins said the main stadium's design is still evolving, but stadium specialist HOK would have to allow for it to be reduced from an 80,000-seater to a 25,000-seater after the Olympics.

by Richard Vaughan

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