Rogge: London venue changes are done deal

BY foxsports • December 10, 2009

The wrangling over the change in venue for two sports at the 2012 London Olympics is "not an issue any more" and the move should be finalized in a month or two. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge and the IOC's executive board on Thursday received a progress update from Sebastian Coe, head of London's organizing committee. Among the topics was the proposed move of badminton and rhythmic gymnastics to Wembley Arena, a change that will allow London organizers to scrap construction of a temporary venue and save up to $30 million. "It is almost finalized," Rogge said at a news conference. "I expect this to be finalized in a month or two. There are visits scheduled for the two federations with their technicians. It is not an issue any more." The badminton and gymnastics federations have not yet approved the switch and continue to express concern over the travel time between the athletes' village in east London and the Wembley venue in northwest London. The temporary venue would have been located much nearer the east London complex. London organizers have offered to house the athletes in hotels within walking distance of Wembley and find ways of shortening the travel journey. Coe said the two sports federations will take the issue to their ruling boards in early 2010, adding that he expects the switch to be completed in the first quarter of the year. Meanwhile, International Gymnastics Federation secretary general Andre Gueisbuhler complained about the prospect of long bus rides for athletes to Wembley. "You know how much time you need from the Olympic village to Wembley?" he told the BBC. "This is almost mission impossible and it can take 1 hour and 15 minutes or 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there and we can't have that. "We will have to insist that an Olympic lane is made on the North Circular road. We realize that the public of London will perhaps not be happy, but at the end of the day, athletes must be at the center of all we do."

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