It’s been a busy week on the London 2012 front with the International Olympic Committee in the capital to see how our plans for the Games are going.
It’s hard to believe that we are now just shy of two years to go until the curtain is raised on the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet.
But I am glad to report that the IOC has once again left impressed with London’s preparations for the Games.
The IOC shares our confidence that we will put on a fantastic Games with people filling our stadiums cheering on the greatest athletes in the World.
The Prime Minister, accompanied by the Chancellor and the Mayor, underlined the Government’s commitment to the Games when Jacques Rogge visited No. 10 on Monday afternoon along with Jeremy Hunt and myself. It was encouraging to also hear that Rogge is also supportive of our plan for an Olympic-style sports competition for young people, which is a key plank to us leaving a lasting sports legacy from London 2012.
On the legacy of the Olympic Park you may have seen a couple of media stories this week on the need for the Government to hand over ownership of the park to the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) to enable them to sell or rent out the venues to the private sector after the Games are over.
I am pleased that this has now been resolved, with Chancellor George Osbourne signing it off, which will help the OPLC get the best possible deals and deliver a fantastic legacy for the stadium and the whole park.
Staying with legacy it will be interesting to see the impact hosting the World Cup has on South Africa in the coming weeks and months and how the country looks to capitalise on the buzz it has created.
In the lead up to the tournament there were many stories circulating that the first World Cup in Africa would be marred by trouble, crime and a lack of organisation. But ahead of the final on Sunday, FIFA and the South African Organising Committee should be congratulated for putting on an excellent tournament.
It was a fantastic success with the African people warmly welcoming fans from around the world. And who will ever forget the vuvuzela – the sound that defined the tournament.
Of course refereeing was another topic of discussion which is why I’m glad FIFA said yesterday that it will look at making changes to refereeing at the next World Cup. The disallowed Lampard goal was not the only major mistake referees made at the tournament and surely, as I and others have called for, a proper debate on the use of technology must now be had.
Congratulations though to England’s Howard Webb who will be refereeing Sunday’s final between Holland and Spain. He’s been excellent in the tournament and it’s a match that I am looking forward to watching.
Before that I’ll be at Silverstone supporting Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at the British Grand Prix.
Looking ahead to next week I am meeting the League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan – it will be interesting to hear his views post the World Cup.
I am having dinner with Danny Boyle, Stephen Daldry, Seb Coe and the Secretary of State to hear about their ideas for the London 2012 opening ceremony. Am sure it’s going to be spectacular.
On Tuesday, I am hoping to go to Lords to welcome the Pakistanis and Australians for their neutral Test series. It is a fantastic initiative on behalf of the MCC and the ECB and will do our reputation in world cricket enormous good.
Add to that countless meetings on London 2012, the Schools Olympics, on emerging community sports plans and a meeting with the MOD – delayed from last week – to discuss helping injured servicemen rehabilitate through sport.
So it will be another hectic week!