Execs from security firm G4S will "come under pressure" on Thursday when the board meets to discuss its failure to provide the 10,400 guards commissioned for the London Games, according to Gill Plimmer of the FINANCIAL TIMES. G4S is due to discuss a review of the "high-profile failure," commissioned by the board and carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers. So far, investors have backed CEO Nick Buckles, who has delivered annualized shareholder returns of 14% since '04. However, COO David Taylor-Smith and Head of Global Events Ian Horseman Sewell are thought "to be less secure." Pressure increased last week by a House of Commons report which "laid the blame for the debacle firmly with the company" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/27).
There is a consensus among those doing preliminary site inspections that the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games "are shaping up to be spectacular," according to Scott Burnside of ESPN.com. U.S. men's hockey GM Brian Burke was in Sochi last spring and told ESPN.com he thinks the 2014 Games could be "the best ever." Other officials "from Canada and the U.S. agree." Hockey Canada President & CEO Bob Nicholson said, "It’s going to be fantastic." He added that any historic concerns about traveling in Russia for int'l events "have been put to bed." North Americans who have visited the Olympic sites and will continue to do so periodically leading up to the event "have raved about the rate at which construction is being completed and the setup of the competition sites." Although the event is coined as the Sochi Games, the athletes' village and most of the sport venues, at least for the non-mountain sports, "will be in the nearby town of Adler." A high-speed rail link is being built that will carry fans and media to the site and, once an initial security area is cleared, Burke said that pretty much all of the venues are "within a walk," including where the Medal ceremonies will be held. Within this athletic location will be two brand-new ice rinks where the men’s and women’s tournaments will take place. One will have a capacity of 12,000, and the other will accommodate 7,000 fans (ESPN.com, 9/26).
The Bulgarian Ministry of Sports and Youth is "mulling serious changes" in the way sports are financed in the country after a London Games performance "largely deemed a failure." Among the changes would be decreasing the funding for the federations for Olympic training by BGN 6-7M ($4-$4.6M) in '13 and redirecting the money to mass children and youth sports activities. Only six to seven Olympic sports will remain priority for financing (NOVINITE.com, 9/26). ... The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the World Martial Arts Union will seek UNESCO recognition of the Angkorian-era martial art bokator "as an intangible cultural heritage" -- a status the ancient Angkor Wat temple complex holds with its place on the World Heritage list. Cambodia's traditional fighting discipline goes back nearly 2,000 years and ranks among the world's oldest martial-arts forms (PHNOM PENH POST, 9/27). ... Sport in the England's New Forest is set to receive a £250,000 ($405,000) boost in the wake of the London Games. Council chiefs are contributing £113,000 ($183,000) toward the £164,000 ($266,000) cost of upgrading a 90-year-old pavillion used by bowlers and tennis players at Lymington Recreation Ground (DAILY ECHO, 9/27).