The Ranger’s been gritting his teeth for a while now, hearing all sorts of bad noises emerging from London with respect to Olympic funding. Now, don’t misunderstand, the Olympics are very fine, and good for London. That’s not the issue. The Ranger is concerned with the money going to support the games, where it’s coming from – and what it will achieve.
…what will suffer as a result? Everyday lottery bids such as the ones we Rangers spend lots of time and effort producing, managing and supporting, and which pay the wages of quite a few of us. And it’s not just rangers. Small community groups and charities, culture, heritage, education, children’s facilities, health, regeneration projects… all those things which up to now the lottery has benefited, all will suffer: and the benefit will be concentrated on one main theme – sport – and one main region – London.
Worrying stuff. But just to make things a little grimmer, the Greater London Authority has produced a report from Prof Gavin Poynter and Dr Iain MacRury of the University of East London. The Telegraph describes some of its findings:
The 2012 Olympics will struggle to bring a boom in jobs, sport and housing, according to a new study. The event could result in “white elephant” venues, job losses and a “couch potato” generation hooked on television sports coverage. The report also claims it will be difficult to regenerate parts of east London, where the venues will be built. Researchers analysed the impact of events on Athens, Sydney, Atlanta and Barcelona. They found venues “struggled to make their mark” in improving employment and sports participation… Improvement in sports participation was “mixed, at best”, with Sydney experiencing small increases in seven Olympic sports, but a decline in nine.
So, not only might we pay more than we thought for the games, but they might not even deliver the things we hoped they would. That’s not really very good.