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London Olympics

Volume 512: debated on Monday 21 June 2010

We have restored lottery funding to 20% of good causes money for sport, which will be of enormous benefit to community sports projects and the encouragement of competitive sport in schools.

Given that the Olympic stadium was built in substantial part with the taxes of Londoners, can the Secretary of State assure me that as part of negotiations with any London premiership team over its future use, as a key part of the sporting legacy of the Olympics, he will ensure that a representative of the football supporters trust will be on the board of any such team using the stadium in the future?

We are strongly in favour of supporters’ trusts being set up and represented on the boards of football teams, and of the presence of a football element in the legacy of the 2012 stadium. Most of all, however, we want to ensure that there is a sporting legacy that touches every school in the country, whether or not it is within travelling distance of the big Olympic venues.

A strong start can lead to the greatest of legacies. May I ask the Secretary of State whether the torch can come to Britain via Dover?

I welcome my hon. Friend to the House. He makes a powerful case, and I am sure that he will continue to do so.

I welcome the Secretary of State and his colleagues to the Front Bench. As I think the right hon. Gentleman will recognise, the achievement and ambition of the sporting legacy for the Olympics are widely acclaimed and appreciated by the International Olympic Committee. There has been sustained investment in sport in schools, an improvement in facilities, the introduction of free swimming, an unprecedented level of investment in elite sport, and lottery funding from more than just the sports lottery. A signal has already been sent that free swimming is to be abandoned. Will the Secretary of State give us a commitment that the sporting legacy—so clearly in place and so widely acclaimed—will be protected?

Let me take this opportunity to thank the right hon. Lady for her outstanding contribution to the Olympic project to date. I hope that she will be able to continue to contribute as the project reaches its final two years. I must tell her, however—while expressing the greatest respect for her efforts—that although some elements of a sporting legacy were in place, we do not believe that enough was in place. I am thinking particularly of the creation of a sporting legacy in schools throughout the country. We very much hope that we will be able to work with the right hon. Lady to ensure that every child in every school in the country is able to be touched by, and be part of, the Olympic dream, not just in 2012 but in every year thereafter.