Decision that won’t put lid on 2012 stadium

The London 2012 Olympic board held its monthly meeting this week but with just a month to go until designs for the main stadium are due to be unveiled, there is still no decision over whether to provide full cover for all spectators.

The designs prepared by HOK Sport and contractors McAlpine that are being circulated feature only a partial roof on the stadium, meaning that despite a potential total Olympic budget of £9.3 billion, spectators in the cheaper seats at the showpiece venue could still get wet when it rains.

Given the vagaries of the English summer, sticking to the current plan could leave organisers open to severe criticism come Games time.

The Olympic Delivery Authority argues that “complex factors”, including wind modelling designed to ensure that track times are within a 2.0mps limit for record purposes, have influenced the decision. With Tessa Jowell working to drive down costs, however, it seems most likely that the expense of putting on a full roof and then removing it when the stadium is reduced to a 25,000 capacity is considered prohibitive. Further government talks are likely before the plan is finally signed off.

One other issue the board ought to consider is the anomalous status of the London 2012 organising committee raised by Monday night’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme. LOCOG enjoys the protection of private company status despite being owned by the Mayor of London and the secretary of state for culture.

LOCOG maintains that it needs the protection offered by private company status because it is seeking billions of pounds in sponsorship revenue, but as the company is ultimately underwritten by the Treasury, changes to its status ought to be considered.

This article originally appeared as part of the Guardian’s Digger column on Wednesday this week. The article can be read in full by clicking here

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