London 2012 Olympics: BOA hardens stance in preparation for possible legal battle with Locog
The British Olympic Association remains on course for a divisive and potentially damaging legal battle with the London 2012 Olympic Organising Committee following a board meeting on Wednesday.
Playing hardball: BOA chairman Colin Moynihan has defended the organisation's tough stance Photo: GETTY IMAGES
By Paul Kelso, Chief Sports Reporter 10:15PM GMT 23 Mar 2011
The BOA, which is arguing that its cut of any surplus from the London Games should not include any Paralympic costs, has asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on the matter after the International Olympic Committee found against it.
The BOA executive board met in London on Wednesday and received a lengthy update on the dispute from its lawyers, who are understood to have told the body it would stand an excellent chance of success in an English court.
The board was not asked to vote on whether to proceed with the case to CAS, and there was some discussion of alternatives to the highly inflammatory course the BOA’s chairman Colin Moynihan has set.
No specific alternatives to CAS were discussed, demonstrating the shortage of options the BOA has left itself after rejecting IOC arbitration. A leaked letter from BOA chief executive Andy Hunt revealed that it turned down a meeting with the IOC over the issue due to “unacceptable conditions” proposed by its legal team.
If successful at CAS, the BOA could benefit from 20 per cent of the redefined surplus, but its pursuit of the matter despite the IOC’s ruling is costing it dear in goodwill domestically and internationally.
There is disquiet among some national governing bodies at the BOA’s stance, and Locog is deeply unhappy at the situation.
The IOC leadership is also unimpressed at having its authority challenged. A meeting of the National Olympic Committee next week, at which all Olympic sports will be represented, will give dissenting voices an opportunity to be heard.
Some sports believe that, while the dispute may bolster the BOA’s standing by giving it increased income, there will be no net benefit to British sport as a whole.
With the Government likely to have to fill any shortfall to the BOA, funding for other bodies, such as UK Sport, would be cut.
Moynihan attempted to justify the BOA’s aggressive approach in a four-page letter to NOC members this week, in which he stressed that the BOA was the only body that would defend Olympic sport after the London Games.