2012 Olympic Security Concerns; Aussie Football Appeal; Toronto 2024?

(ATR) U.S. has "utmost confidence" in London's plans, says State Department ... Matildas want in and North Korea out for 2012 ... Olympic University lectures ... Rumblings from Toronto ... Moynihan on doping.

Inter Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) heads and scores as he is flanked by Fiorentina's Danish defender Per Billeskov Kroldrup (C) and Fiorentina's French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey (R) during their Serie A football match at San Siro Stadium in Milan on March 15, 2009. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
Inter Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) heads and scores as he is flanked by Fiorentina's Danish defender Per Billeskov Kroldrup (C) and Fiorentina's French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey (R) during their Serie A football match at San Siro Stadium in Milan on March 15, 2009. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Security Concerns Overblown?

A spokesman for the State Department suggests U.S. security concerns for the 2012 Games are being exaggerated by London media.

"The U.S. has the utmost confidence in the British government's arrangements to ensure safety and security for the Olympic Games," Mark Toner told AFP.

His reassurance comes hours after The Guardian reported U.S. plans to deploy as many as 1,000 agents, including 500 from the FBI, to protect the country's athletes and VIPs next summer.

"The US team will be one of the largest contingents participating in the Games, and hundreds of thousands of American tourists and corporate sponsors are expected to attend Olympic events," Toner said Monday.

"It is, therefore, entirely normal and prudent for the United States to engage in discussions with UK officials about security arrangements for the Olympic Games."

The deployment of U.S. security personnel for an Olympics is not uncommon, and a small number of other foreign security agents representing the countries taking part will also be operating during the 2012 Games.

The bulk of the Olympic security operation will, however, be delivered by the Metropolitan Police Service and LOCOG.

Around 12,000 officers are to police the Games with private security firm G4S possibly providing up to 15,000 more security officials.

Chris Allison, the Met's security chief for 2012, is traveling to Washington in the coming days to brief the U.S. government on Olympic security planning.

Matildas Still Hope to Dance in 2012

Australia wants North Korea out of the London 2012 women’s football tournament and the Matildas in.

Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph reports that top players from the Aussie national team are appealing to the IOC, FIFA and the World Anti-Doping Agency alongside both the Australian Olympic Committee and Football Federation Australia.

At issue is whether North Korea’s ban from the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup should also apply to the 2012 Olympics.

Five players tested positive for steroids at this year’s finals in Germany and were slapped with bans of up to 18 months by world football’s governing body.

Two months later, Australia finished third in Asia’s continental qualifying tournament for the London Summer Games. Among their losses was a 1-0 opener to runner-up North Korea, who played without its banned footballers and qualified for 2012.

"They played better than us and we lost the game," Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri told Australian Associated Press.

"But it plays on your mind – do you really believe that they didn't have any drugs in their system when they were playing us as well? Who knows?"

According to FIFA, drug tests were not conducted at the qualifiers in China due to logistical reasons.

"We think it's strange that a team is banned for 2015 and not 2012 so we have raised the issue with WADA, the IOC and FIFA but so far to no avail," FFA national teams chief John Boultbee told AAP.

Chernyshenko, Bubka Lecture at Olympic University

IOC member Sergey Bubka and Sochi2014 CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko can add professor to their list of titles.

The two are giving a lecture next Thursday at the Russian International Olympic University on brand-building and communications.

"RIOU is an integral part of Sochi 2014’s mission to create a tangible legacy today, and it is a real honor to be personally involved," Chernyshenko said.

"Over the next two weeks, these delegates will benefit from the experience of some of the world’s top experts in this area. I believe that this will be a great platform for raising the level of professionalism in sports organizations."

Some of the other lecturers include IOC members Rene Fasel and Patrick Hickey as well as longtime Olympic journalist Alan Abrahamson.

Toronto 2024 Bid Possible

Toronto may bid for the 2024 Olympics after passing on 2022.

Bob Richardson, who led the successful bid for the 2015 Pan American Games, says he is assembling a group to work on a future campaign.

"There’s a groupof us looking at it," he told Canada’s The Globe and Mail. "Sometimes it takes a couple of tries before you get that brass ring."

Toronto came up short for the 1996 and 2008 Games. Rob Ford, the city’s mayor, nixed a 2022 bid earlier this year.

A spokesman for the COC told the daily it's "highly speculative" to comment on a 2024 bid and the COC would "act in the best interests of athletes and sport in Canada."

Moynihan Reiterates Anti-Doping Stance

British Olympic Association chief Colin Moynihan wants to be clear on the BOA’s stance on its lifetime ban for drug cheats.

His speech came Tuesday at the International Federations Forum in Lausanne, where he repeated comments made Monday to Around the Rings.

Moynihan added: "In recent days, much has been made of the fact that there is no room for redemption in the BOA’s lifetime ban. It is argued that Olympic values should include the indulgence of human frailty, forgiveness and redemption and that the mark of a true justice system is the prospect of reform and redemption that it offers.

"However, I believe we need to ask where in this case is the redemption for the clean athlete denied selection by a competitor who has knowingly cheated, taking the whole ‘enchilada’ of drugs? There is no national team kit for that clean athlete. No redemption for him. And what is worse the cheat, possibly with a lifelong benefit of a course of growth hormones and other drugs, is back again.

"It is the BOA’s belief, shared by the overwhelming majority of athletes, and now by the IOC Athletes’ Commission that the willful, consistent, and illicit use of banned performance-enhancing drugs use is the most heinous and reprehensible form of cheating in sport and so in this specific case the toughest sanctions should apply."

Criticism of the ban began surfacing anew after the IOC was forced to scrap its "Osaka Rule" that disqualifies any athlete slapped with a drug ban of six months or more from the next Olympics.

Oman Olympic Committee Meeting

The Oman Olympic Committee will convene Dec. 29 for an Extraordinary General Assembly.

In a statement, OOC secretary general Hilal bin Ali al Sinani said the meeting will ratify changes to OOC governance, allowing the NOC to expand and form various commissions such as a Women in Sport commission.

Written by Ed Hula III and Matthew Grayson.