The British Government will increase the budget for handling millions of Olympic visitors in London by almost 50% "after the Jubilee celebrations prompted a reassessment of crowd projections," according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. Olympic organisers will spend an extra £19M ($29.5M) on additional stewards, barriers, intelligence gathering as well as building and widening temporary pedestrian bridges "at transport pinch points" in Hyde Park and Greenwich Park. The total budget for crowd management in public spaces and the "last mile" between transport hubs and Olympic venues has risen from £50M ($77.1M) to £76M ($118M) (TELEGRAPH, 6/13).
MONEY TO SPEND: REUTERS' Keith Weir reports that Britain has nearly £500M ($777M) "left unspent" in its Olympic budget. Public funding for the Games has increased to £9.3B ($14.5B), "more than double the figure anticipated" when London was awarded them in '05. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said, "We are becoming increasingly certain that we can deliver these Games for under £9B and if we could do that, that would be a remarkable achievement." (REUTERS, 6/13).
NUMBERS TELL THE STORY: The London GUARDIAN's Data Blog extracted the costs from the latest report on the costs of the Games and added them to a Google Spreadsheet. The numbers show the security for the park was "the item most under budget" -- at £10M ($15.5M) less than expected in '11. Conversely, the bridges and highways cost £12M ($18.7M) more than expected in '11 (GUARDIAN, 6/13).
England ministers are "under growing pressure" from companies that are frustrated they are unable to “shout” about their involvement in creating this summer’s Olympics, according to Pickard, Kortekaas & Plimmer of the FINANCIAL TIMES. All businesses that "won work" on the 2012 Games had to sign a “no marketing rights protocol,” banning them from issuing press releases, running advertising or any marketing or public relations campaigns publicising their connection to the event. Business leaders have turned to ministers asking them to override what they have called “over-protective” measures. British Chambers of Commerce Dir of Policy Adam Marshall said companies should be able to "shout from the rooftops" about their involvement in the Olympic Games (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/13).
Australian Weightlifting Federation CEO Michael Keelan accused weightlifter Daniel Koum of demanding $5,000 to compete at an Olympic qualifying event, according to Nick Mulvenney of REUTERS. Keelan said that the incident occurred at the Oceania championships in Samoa last week, where the Australian men's team needed a high finish to qualify for the London Games. Cameroon-born Koum said, "I'm very shocked. I've always been competing. I've put all my financial money to represent this country and they're accusing me of [asking for] $5,000?" (REUTERS, 6/13). In Sydney, the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD's Phil Lutton reported that Koum "could face extortion charges" if the accusation is proven. Specialist sports lawyer Tim Fuller said that even though the alleged incident took place in Samoa, Koum could still face extortion charges. Fuller said, "If it is true, the elements of extortion have essentially been made out. I think it would be unprecedented in Australian sporting history." The Australian Olympic Committee investigation will be headed by Dir of Sport Fiona de Jong. The AWF "is expected" to hand the AOC a report Friday (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/14). THE AUSTRALIAN's Peter Kogoy reported that Koum's hopes of competing at the London Games "are in tatters." Koum faces "being dropped" from the training squad for "allegedly soliciting" $5,000. Koum, "it is understood," will be "delisted from the Olympic shadow squad" Friday. Koum did not return calls from THE AUSTRALIAN to his mobile phone (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/14).
London’s "biggest commuter rail network faces the threat of industrial action" in the days leading up to the Olympics, after its main union said that it would "ballot staff" at South West Trains in a dispute over hours and pay during the Games, according to Mark Odell of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The union said it had received assurances from South West Trains that there would be “minimal impact” from the Games, but that recent changes by the company to add services and put on later running trains would add to the workload on staff. The company said that it will be operating 1,700 trains each day, "close to the maximum number." The "extra capacity would mainly involve" lengthening existing trains with less than a 1% increase in the number of services (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/13).