London Update: LOCOG Confirms Venues, Bonuses Revealed

(ATR) Venues found for badminton, rhythmic gymnastics and shooting ... Bonuses for ODA staff ... UK Anti-Doping opens in December.

LONDON - JANUARY 15:  A general view of Wembley Arena, the new venue for the Masters, during the 2007 Saga Insurance Masters Snooker at Wembley Arena on January 15, 2007 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON - JANUARY 15: A general view of Wembley Arena, the new venue for the Masters, during the 2007 Saga Insurance Masters Snooker at Wembley Arena on January 15, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Wembley Arena will host badminton and rhythmic gymnastics for the 2012 Olympics. (Getty Images)(ATR) Organizers of the 2012 Olympics decide to use Wembley Arena for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics instead of building a temporary venue on the North Greenwich peninsula.

The decision by the Olympic Board Thursday follows months of uncertainty over where the sports would be staged at the Games, amid concerns over costs. The venue change is expected to save more than $30 million.

LOCOG will present the proposals to the international gymnastics federation this week during their World Gymnastics Championships underway at the O2 Arena in London. The Badminton World Federation visits to inspect the plans next week.

Denis Oswald, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for London, will give his views on the plans when the inspection team visits in November. They will then submit the plans to the IOC Executive Board for approval in December.

Shooting will take place at the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich. (Greenwich Council)

Board members including Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, London Mayor Boris Johnson, British Olympic Association chair Colin Moynihan and LOCOG chair Sebastian Coe also confirmed the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich as the venue for shooting and Paralympic archery.

Shooting officials had lobbied for a move, saying that staging the sport at Woolwich would leave no lasting legacy. The Olympic Delivery Authority will submit the planning application for Woolwich in next few weeks.

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham was identified as a suitable location for training venues and other operations in 2012. LOCOG said it would release further details in the New Year.

Bonuses Revealed

Olympics Minister Jowell also revealed today that Olympic Delivery Authority officials overseeing the development of venues and infrastructure for the Games were paid $2.9 million in performance-related pay in the year to March 31, 2009.

In a written answer to a Parliamentary question, Jowell noted that the average bonus for the ODA’s 206 employees was $14,264. Bonuses for ODA directors came to a total of $459,449.

ODA chief executive David Higgins said in July he deferred half of his £340,592 bonus until 2012.

Responding to a question by ex-sports Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell says that ODA employees received an average bonus of $14,264. (Getty Images) minister Kate Hoey about why Higgins was awarded the bonus, Jowell said the ODA official had a performance-based pay element within his contract.

“This is linked to delivery on time and within budget. The basis of performance pay is agreed by DCMS and the level is determined by the remuneration committee of the ODA Board,” she wrote.

Jowell noted that the first venue, Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, had opened on time in November 2008, while work had started ahead of schedule on the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, the Aquatics Centre and the Velodrome.

In 2008, the overall bonuses for ODA staff totaled £1.7 million ($2.8 million).

Boost for British Fight Against Doping

UK Anti-Doping, Britain’s first stand-alone anti-doping body, will be operational Dec. 14, sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe announced today.

UKAD, based in central London, will be headed by chairman David Kenworthy and chief executive Andy Parkinson. They will be supported by an experienced senior team, with new names currently being finalized.

UKAD’s functions include an education and information program and athlete testing across more than 40 sports.

Two new initiatives will be operational in early 2010: a ‘Drug Cheats’ hotline and an Athlete Committee.

The confidential telephone line will act as an outlet for anyone with information on doping or supply of banned substances in sport. The Athlete Committee will help UKAD form closer relationships with sportsmen and women.

“UK Anti-Doping will be up and running, as promised, by the end of the year. It is the latest step in our war on drug cheats and will ensure this country is leading the way on anti-doping,” Sutcliffe said.

Kenworthy added: “By working in partnership with athletes, NGBs, government and law enforcement, we will deliver a clean sporting environment in the run up to 2012 and beyond.”

With reporting from Mark Bisson.For general questions and comments, click here.

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