Olympic budget rows move on to stadium

23 Apr 2008

By: Sport Industry Group

London 2012 budget rows refuse to go away with rumours now surfacing that the official cost of building the Olympic stadium has been underestimated.

According to predictions from construction experts, the true cost of building the new arena is more likely to be in the region of £500m as opposed to the £280m laid out in the original bid document.

The latest speculation on Olympic budgets follows a week of ongoing press reports on the varying aspects of the project after Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell confirmed to the House of Commons that the Olympic budget had been revised upwards to £3.3bn.

In responding to the question marks over the stadium costs specifically raised over the weekend, Jowell stated that the original price of the stadium would be revised when a new, final budget for 2012 is agreed upon by the government early next year.

It was also confirmed that the cost of converting the stadium from an 80,000-seat venue during the Games to a 25,000-capacity athletics arena once the Games were over had not been included in the £280m figure.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said that the stadium was in the bid book at £280m because International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules meant that construction costs had to be given in 2004 prices, not the likely overall cost by 2012. Due to inflation in the construction industry now at 6.5% the venue was always going to cost more than the original figure, according to the DCMS.

Meanwhile the design for the aquatics centre has been revised and will have 5,000 fewer seats and a less ambitious roof design than originally planned.

The revision was made after fears the original £75m budget for the arena would double. The new design has 15,000 seats rather than 20,000 and the expensive wave-shaped roof will be kept but will be two-and-a-half times smaller than originally planned.