Coe: Major Games are for the people
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of stakeholders to look out for when a country sets about organising a major sporting event like the Olympic Games.
The range is diverse - from sponsors to international federations, politicians to volunteers.
But Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Olympics organising committee, says there is one group that should be at the heart of every bid for a major event.
"The most important stakeholders.... are the local communities - they ask the most sophisticated questions," said Coe (above), speaking at the Sports Matters conference yesterday at Marina Bay Sands.
"If I was organising the Games 20 years ago it would probably have been enough to say that we are going to have a big sporting party. That is not enough anymore."
Potential hosts need to convince their communities about the positive impact events will have on their lives without having additional long-term burdens - such as massive but under-used facilities - heaped upon them.
"Local communities are not so much interested in the project management (during the bid process); they want to know that they are not going to be lumbered with things that are going to cause them difficulty going forward," Coe stated, when The New Paper mentioned that the Football Association of Singapore was aiming to host the 2019 Fifa Under-17 World Cup.
Sustainability is another key factor - London 2012 had only eight permanent venues, which all have long-term tenants now.
Temporary seating - used during the Games - were also recycled at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this year, revealed the former Olympic 1,500m champion, who is now chairman of the CSM Sport & Entertainment group of companies.
Installing non-permanent seats may be a solution in Singapore's bid for the junior World Cup, with the 55,000-seater National Stadium the only venue here capable of handling huge crowds.
Said Coe: "You should either use those structures you already have and not create venues that duplicate that; if you haven't got those permanent venues you should only build permanent venues if you've already established what the life looks like at least 10 years after for those venues.
"If you can't establish that legacy build them temporary - the technology around temporary venues now is really advanced.
"It is no longer acceptable to build bigger (permanent venues) just because the last one was big ."
In his keynote speech at the conference, Coe noted that major sporting events are moving away from "old" cities like London and Los Angeles and into emerging markets.
With the hosting of events like the Fifa World Cup and the Olympics still requiring massive financial outlay, Coe says co-hosting could "probably" be a growing trend going forward.
After all, Japan and South Korea hosted the 2002 World Cup Finals, while Uefa will spread the hosting duties of the 2020 European Championships throughout the continent.
Similarly, Asean are considering a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup Finals.
But Coe warned that the complexity of co-hosting multi-sports like the Olympics is of "a very different order".
He said: "The organisation of the World Cup is in the foothills compared to that of an Olympic Games.
"(To organise the Olympics you must have) the ability to simultaneously deliver, in barely two weeks, 50 world championships, and then do the same with 40 Paralympic world championships after a 10-day breather.
"It is of a complexity that is way, way beyond that of a single world championships."
Coe backs Singapore Grand Prix
Traffic slows to a crawl at times, and businesses in the Marina Bay area suffer dips whenever the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix comes to town.
But Lord Sebastian Coe says the long-term effects brought on by the hosting of such high-profile international sporting events outweighs the short-term inconveniences.
"Every sporting event has people talking about such things; in the lead-up to London (Olympics in 2012) people were wondering if traffic would come to a standstill," he said, at the sidelines of the Sports Matters conference at the Marina Bay Sands yesterday, ironically a stone's throw from the Marina Bay F1 street circuit.
"But, one year after the Games, London - by a distance on any indices - became the most popular city in the world, and the Games helped with that.
"Short-term traffic problems are, by a distance, outweighed by the global importance of being seen at the heart of world sport."
- LIM SAY HENG