London: Recession Jolts World of Sports


London, Dec 11: Construction companies working on the Games Village for the 2012 London Olympics could go bust because of the global recession, the head of the Olympic Development Authority (ODA) told a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday. "The risk to companies getting into financial difficulty and perhaps going bust is a risk to us," said ODA chairman John Armitt.

"Hopefully we can keep a reasonable eye on the state of those suppliers so if somebody is getting into difficulty we can perhaps take mitigating action to reduce the impact of that." Any company collapses would be a further setback for London 2012 organisers, who have already had to reduce the size of the joint public and privately financed Olympic Village from 4,200 to 3,300 apartments because of the continuing fall in British property prices.

Despite the reduction in the project size, the ODA is still having difficulty in raising the necessary 1 billion pound ($1.48 billion) and is in discussions with Australian construction company Lend Lease.

Layoff wave hits NFL in US

New York: National Football League, one of the America's most successful sports leagues that is known for player contracts worth billions of dollars, has also resorted to job cuts in its bid to cut costs, a report said. The league's commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that he would be cutting 14 per cent of its staff, accounting for 150 jobs, to help cut its costs by about 50 million dollars, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The job cuts, to be implemented over the next two months, are said to be in places like New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles, but would not affect the individual teams controlled by various clubs. Earlier this year, US business magazine Forbes named NFL as the richest and "the strongest sport in the world."

Austere 2009 budget by IOC

Lausanne: The International Olympic Committee has drafted an austere 2009 budget due to the international financial crisis and could delay a US television rights deal for the 2014/16 Games until late next year. The IOC has yet to agree on a broadcast deal for the US market for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Olympics because of the credit crunch.

Richard Carrion, chief negotiator for broadcasting rights said that a deal for the US market could take place after the election of the host city. "I don't see us moving quickly forward because all prognostications we are seeing are that advertising will be down. "Right now the whole mood is negative for the economy. Yes, they (broadcasters) always prefer to wait."

'Cost of 2010 soccer WC stadiums hit by weak rand'

Johannesburg: South Africa will finish building all 10 stadiums for the 2010 World Cup on time although the cost will be higher than forecast due in part to a weaker rand, a senior official said on Wednesday.

"All of the stadiums will be complete and there is no doubt about that," Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the 2010 local organising committee said. "Some of the (construction) materials will be procured outside the country. As the rand weakens, there will be some cost overruns," he said.

Local organisers are concerned about keeping the stadium budget from spiralling out of control and finding the funds to meet the shortfall, which the South African government has already pledged 1.4 billion rand towards. The weaker rand has complicated the budget projections. 


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