In this week’s Spectator, Andrew Gilligan and I disclose, for the first time, all the petty, legally-binding demands made by the 115-member International Olympic Committee (IOC) of London.
This is information that the government, the mayor and the London Olympic organisers never wanted you to see – even though it forms a binding part of the Host City Contract signed when we won the right to host the games in 2005.
Paul Charman, a researcher in East London who contributes to the website GamesMonitor (www.gamesmonitor.org.uk), fought a two year battle with City Hall to get them into the public domain arguing, quite correctly, that their disclosure is outstandingly in the public interest. Happily, the Information Commissioner agreed.
Contained within 21 so-called ‘Olympic Technical Manuals’, the IOC sprays around rules governing everything from tax-breaks to the uniforms they expect their chauffeurs to wear for the duration of the 2012 Olympics. The limits they will place on the everyday lives of Londoners are simply draconian. They IOC want London to shut roads and even close flight-paths. They demand a meeting with the Queen and even that their Olympic flag always takes precedence over the Union flag for the duration of the games. And there’s much more.
The picture that emerges is of our capital city yielding up its public infrastructure, legal powers and identity and handing them over to an international sporting body with a taste for the high life. Taxpayers are paying £12bn and counting for the games, another £1.4bn has been raised from private sources and millions more have been donated by the IOC – so this is going to cost us dearly.
The Manuals run on for thousands of pages and I’m sure there are elements of the IOC’s plans that bear further investigation. For this reason I am placing them, along with that Host City Contract, online. Just click on the links below: