The Herald

Only 4% of Olympic camps in Scotland

Seal of approval for 28 venues north of the border

- MARTIN WILLIAMS martin.williams@theherald.co.uk

JUST 4% of the training camps accredited forvisitin­g Olympic teams are north of the border, it emerged yesterday.

The organisers of the London 2012 Oly mpic Games said that of the 639 UKvenues earmarked to host top class internatio­nal athletes preparing to compete at the London 2012 Games, 28 are in Scotland.

While Scotland has amongst the smallest number of approved training camps regionally, around 35% are in London and the south-east, including Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, The Valley and Twickenham, which is listed as a potential archery training camp.

Outside London and the south-east, the north-west of England is the biggest provider, with more than 70 venues chosen.

Seven of the 35 Scottish venues put forward as potential training sites failed to make the Pre-Olympic Games Training Camp Guide. The London 2012 organisers say they are not identifyin­g them.

Andy Burnham, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said it was up to individual facilities to put themselves forward.

“It is an independen­t process where venues put themselves forward and are then individual­ly assessed. I think Scotland will have a strong case to attract teams for 2012 as, with Glasgow hosting the 2014 Commonweal­th Games, it would be logical for some teams to base themselves there for both events,” he said.

The line-up includes 130 accredited facilities in the south-east of England, 96 venues in London, 73 in the north-west of England, 65 in the east of England and 60 in the south-west of England.

Another 51 are in Yorkshire, 33 in the West Midlands, 31 in Wales, 27 in Northern Ireland, 26 in the East Midlands and 19 in the north-east of England.

Stewart Maxwell, the Scottish Sports Minister, said yesterday that improvemen­ts were required to facilities north of the border in the runup to the 2014 Commonweal­th Games in Glasgow, and that £150m in Lottery funds diverted south to pay for the London Olympics should remain in Scotland.

Mr Maxwell, speaking at the National Rowing Centre at Strathclyd­e Park, which was chosen as one of the accredited Olympic training venues, described £150m as an “Olympic tax on Scotland”.

“The bottom line is we are not going to do as well out of the training camps as the south-east of England. That’s obvious. That’s bound to be. It’s much closer to London. But the fact remains that taking £150m from Scottish good causes and sport over the next few years is going to impact.

“The fact is that while the Olympic Games are very welcome with all the business and oppor tunities it brings, London should not be putting an Olympic tax on Scotland which means taking that £150m out.”

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotl­and, said he was “delighted” that 80% had made the guide, adding: “We clearly have a good range of both specialist and multi-sport f acilit i es that meet the stringent criteria, and it is great news that we are able to cater for 30 out of the 36 Olympic discipline­s.”

The Pre-Games Training Camp Guide is set to be published at this summer’s Beijing Olympics. London 2012 organising committee chairman Lord Sebastian Coe said at a London launch: “It shows a great spread of highqualit­y facilities that can be used by elite-level athletes.”

The London 2012 organisers have promised visiting Olympic teams up to £25,000 to encourage them to base themselves in the UK.

The Reebok and the City of Manchester stadiums are among the football venues listed, in addition to the City Ground, Nottingham and Racecourse Ground,Wrexham.

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