Turkey Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç said his country's Olympics candidacy process includes "plans for a 100,000-person temporary stadium to be constructed in the Haydarpaşa neighborhood of İstanbul's Kadıköy district," according to TODAYS ZAMAN. Kılıç stated that "if Turkey's bid is successful the ministry plans to establish a temporary stadium in Haydarpaşa, a neighborhood on the Asian side of İstanbul, which will accommodate 100,000 people." It will be the site of the opening ceremony in which the spectators will be able to see the famous Kız Kulesi (Maiden's Tower), the panorama of the historic peninsula, the center of ancient İstanbul, and the Bosporus at the same time." Kılıç also stated that it "declared a total of 36 sports facilities" in Turkey's application to the IOC. Kılıç said, "Eleven of those declared facilities already exist while 25 of them will newly be established" (TODAYS ZAMAN, 3/26).
TRAFFIC JAM: HÜRRIYET DAILY NEWS reported Istanbul "promises to solve its traffic problem if its bid is successful." Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım said, "The Games Transport Directorate has been established to take responsibility for the operational planning and delivery of Games transport services. Our transport projects will leave a tremendous legacy for Istanbul and will be executed, irrespective of whether we are awarded the honor of hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games" (HÜRRIYET DAILY NEWS, 3/27)
UK Athletics has been accused of "bulldozing" Olympic and Paralympic athletes into signing a central contract "that would blunt their individual commercial appeal and place them in breach of existing endorsement deals," according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. Agents "acting for some of the biggest names in British track and field," including Gold Medalists Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis, have expressed concerns that the "performance athlete agreement" for '13-'17 severely limits their clients' freedom to capitalize on their success at the 2012 London Games. Rising stars including Katerina Johnson-Thompson, Perri Shakes-Drayton and Andy Pozzi "have been advised not to sign the contract because it constitutes a restraint of trade." One leading agent said, "I cannot see any athlete signing it in its present form." Others accused UKA "of employing strong-arm tactics by insisting that athletes who failed to sign the four-year contract before the end of this week would be withdrawn from forthcoming warm-weather training camps." The row comes amid a change of sponsorship strategy by UKA, "which is pursuing a multi-brand approach" after the termination of its £50M ($75M) five-year sponsorship deal with Aviva. The main issue is that UKA's new sponsors are unknown, "so it is not clear whether they will conflict with present or future personal endorsement deals." One agent said, "They're asking athletes to sign something blind" (LONDON TIMES, 3/27).
Delegates from 23 Southeast and East Asian countries were given a "detailed step by step tour of the four-year plan which envisages enhanced funding" for National Olympic Committees to raise the performance standard of their athletes by helping them train better, according to H. S. Manjunath of the PHNOM PENH POST. The Olympic Solidarity-Olympic Council of Asia Quadrennial Plan for the '13-16 Olympic cycle will include "more funding and broader scope for individual initiatives in allocation of grants and scholarships for athletic programs." This includes the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games and the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games. One particular concept that received "warm approval" was the introduction of interim scholarships, a kind of a bridge between the end of one event and the start of the next. It was also pointed out that any NOC in Asia "would be eligible for a team support grant" to build one national team of its choice in any Olympic discipline, men or women (PHNOM PENH POST, 3/27).