Our faithful internauts might want to know that without any help from Mr. Julian Assange, the British weekly The Spectator has just published what they call ‘an international sporting equivalent of the WikiLeaks cables’. To what is hoped to be the deep embarrassment of the International Olympic Committee, The Spectator has winkled out ‘the complete, contractually binding and previously confidential set of demands made by the 115-member IOC on poor old London for the 2012 Olympic Games’.
Now for instance, did you know that London is, according to the contract, required to provide both the IOC and ‘the Olympic Family’, including committee members, staff and officials, with 40,000 hotel-room bookings for the duration of the Games? This staggering demand includes 1,800 4 and 5-star hotel rooms for the fat cats of the IOCD itself. Did you know that no less than SIX Park Lane hotels have been booked out for these Games, including flagship establishments such as the Dorchester, the Grosvenor and the Hilton?
Accommodation for the Olympic athletes themselves will be provided in the Olympic Village being built for them at a cost (to the taxpayer) of £325 millions – mere drop in the ocean, dear boy, don’t let your wig fly off – but no accommodation has been reserved for spectators. They must fend for themselves. The Spectator says that ‘on the evidence of these documents, visitors to the Games will probably find that any hotel within a 5-mile radius of London is already fully booked by the third assistant director of the Togolese handball federation and his extensive support staff’. How very funny if all this cost and irritation is going to end with a mean scattering of spectators at the feast!
Bet you did’nt know that the IOC are to be given 250 miles of so-called ‘ZIL’ lanes, named after the old Soviet limousines that enjoyed traffic-free passage? These will stretch from London to Weymouth in Dorset, where the sailing games are to be held (weather permitting; I do so fervently hope the Olympic sailing crews will not experience the kind of weather I used to meet when sailing in and around Weymouth Bay in the 1960s). The limousines the IOC bosses will use are 500 air-conditioned motors of the Audi kind, supplied with uniformed chauffeurs of course. Don’t forget your black peaked cap.
London has to provide a ‘dance café’ for the athletes to wriggle about in when not actually competing. A flower shop must be there too, providing a range of flowers and gifts for customers ‘in the Olympic Village’. Our British taxpayers will be happy to learn that ‘a balloon rental service is optional’. Housekeepers for the athletes will be laid on too: ‘it is recommended that the same housekeeping staff perform their duties for the same teams daily. This will build relationship and trust, give confidence and maintain standards’. Let us pray that Mrs and Miss Mop will know the Czech for ‘make the bed’. And the Mandarin for ‘sweep up the broken glass’.
The Spectator tells us that IOC edicts are called ‘Olympic Technical Manuals’. They are attached to the contract signed by the then Mayor of London, Mr. Ken Livingstone, after he had won the right to host the Games, in July 2005. ‘The contract itself was later made public, but for years London 2012 and City Hall refused to publish the manuals, furiously resisting Freedom of Information requests on the grounds that “confidence of the IOC” must not be breached; hardly surprising. It needed two years of determined campaigning by Mr Paul Charman for the documents to come to light.
Would it surprise you to know that the British authorities have agreed to let the IOC create a state within a state? Did you realise that during the Games, ordinary London life, including ordinary commerce and the right to basic freedoms will be subordinated to the five-ring circus that the IOC calls its ‘brand protection policy’?
It seems the IOC gets frightfully worked up if any ‘ambush marketing’ should appear. This means the branding or promotion for any organisation which has not paid huge sums of cash to the IOC.
The manuals insist that candidate cities for the right to stage the Olympics ‘are required to obtain control of all billboard advertising, city transport, advertising, airport advertising etc. for the duration of the Games and the month preceding them to support the marketing programme’. Well of course.
No journalist covering the games is allowed any ‘signage’ whatsoever, even for his or her own publication – on hats, bags or other garments. No athlete or other participant can wear any clothing on which the manufacturer’s name takes up more that 10% of the surface area, or 12 square centimetres.
The revealed documents tell us that there must be an airspace plan’ for London 2012 “to prohibit any (non-sponsored) presence within the airspace above the Olympic venues, and the surrounding areas within the host city”. Actually, the IOC has had the grace to point out that “there may be obstacles to carrying out airspace requirements completely. For example, it may be impossible to alter the regular flight pattern of commercial airlines.” Good Heavens! Surely not!
Finally, to add a little spice to the debate that is at present raging among British citizens, who are generally dumbfounded by the idea of another ‘country’ virtually taking over Britain during the Games, there is the thorny question of ‘the Flag’. The documents insist that at every ceremony in London during the 2012 Olympics, the Olympics flag must be more prominent than the Union flag. One quotes: ‘Precedence of flags: Olympic flag, Flag of the OCOG (?) or city, flag of the province, region or canton, national flag’. This is what the manuals state.
Though she really has little choice, the Queen must give in to the IOC’s demand for a royal reception on the day before the Games open. I quote again: ‘IOC members are presented to the Head of State’ after which all will watch ‘an artistic programme reflecting local traditions or culture’. One cannot wait. The burden for all this nonsense has already cost the British taxpayer nearly £12 billions. Oh and by the way, the manuals state that ‘all billboards and pageantry (sic) shall be in French’. So having beaten Paris to host the 2012 Olympics, we must plaster the city with thousands of posters in French.