Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay in London

August 9 - London 2012 today received backing from National Olympic Committee representatives attending the Chef de Missions seminar that, despite the riots that have hit the capital, they are confident that the Games will pass off safely.

The Government vowed to review security plans for next year as a third day of rioting forced the cancellation of England's football match tomorrow against the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium, which is one of the London 2012 venues and due to stage the finals of the football.

Widespread unrest across London and the inability of police to deal swiftly with last night's multiple outbreaks of violence, have prompted questions over security plans for the Olympics.

Home Secretary Theresa May said officials would "look at what is necessary" to ensure a trouble-free Olympics.

"We take the issues around the Olympics very seriously," May said.

"An awful lot of work has already gone into planning in relation to the security and public order in relation to the Olympics and we will continue to monitor that and continue to look at what is necessary and what we need."

Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson claimed that those predicting that next year's Games would be a disaster as "very, very wrong."

"We have a commitment to deliver a safe and secure Games and we will do so," Robertson said.

The decision to scrap England's football match was taken following discussions between the Football Association and the Metropolitan Police.

"It is terribly sad that a major sports event of this sort has to be cancelled in this way," FA chairman David Bernstein said.

"But we have to put safety and security matters first...I think we have done the only thing we could do."

The unprecedented decision followed the earlier postponement of League Cup matches involving West Ham United, Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace after police advice.

The after-effects of last night's riots were clearly visible at the Olympic Park today where a plume of black smoke from the Sony warehouse in Enfield, North London, which had been looted and set alight, rose above the Velodrome and the Basketball Arena.

But there was backing for London 2012 from John Coates, the President of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), who is a member of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board and the Coordination Commission overseeing preparations for next year's Games.

"The riots are a concern but we believe the trouble is domestic and not linked to the·Olympic Games next year," Coates said.

"LOCOG has said there will be 9,000 police on the beat each day of the·2012 Games, they are responsible for the security of the athletes of the world at Games time.

"We had some trouble on the streets during the 2004 Games in Athens and we ensured our athletes were well aware of the danger and we advised them to steer well clear of any street demonstrations, the same will apply for London should they arise".

Coates was supported by Nick Green, a double Olympic rowing gold medallist, who is Australia's Chef de Mission for London 2012.

"From an Olympics point of view, I'm very confident that come Games time they will be very safe and very secure," he said.

"The safety and security of our athletes at these Games have been the number one priority and it will continue to be.

"We're confident that come Games time LOCOG will have the appropriate security in place."

The United States, usually the most nervous of travelling teams, also claimed that they believed their safety would not be compromised at London 2012.

"For every Games we take security planning extremely serious and work very closely with the US State Department, the organisers and the local authorities to try to ensure the safety of our teams," said Patrick Sandusky, the spokesman for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

"We are confident in the security plans for the London Games and will continue to work very closely with LOCOG and the local authorities as we build towards the Games in 2012."

Argentina's Chef de Mission Gabriel Curuchet, was another to express confidence in London.

"I've been to six Olympic Games and what I see here is nothing related to the Olympics," he said.

"Therefore I have no concern.

"I understand some people are giving London a very bad image and this may impact on the Olympics but for me I know the work that the organisers are doing and this is not the case."

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, National Olympic Security Coordinator, tried to reassure visiting international officials that everything would be done to ensure that London 2012 is safe.

"Our planning for safety and security for the Games is intelligence-led and based against a number of strategic risks, remaining flexible to enable swift and efficient response to emerging threats," he said.

"Public disorder is one of those risks which we have already been planning against across the country.

"Obviously, in light of the appalling events in London over recent days, we will review our planning to ensure that any lessons are identified. But first, we must fully establish the circumstances of what has happened and at this time it is too early to say whether our planning will significantly change.

"What is absolutely clear is that we are committed to the Games being delivered in safety and security, for athletes, spectators and the wider public."

Several of Britain's top athletes also used their respective Twitter pages to share their views on the riots.

"The Riots in London are stupid and dangerous, there's other ways to speak out," wrote Luol Deng, the Chicago Bulls superstar who is Britain's top basketball player.

"Don't react in a way that you will later regret."

Double world-champion open water swimmer Keri-Anne Payne watched the footage on television in stunned disbelief.

"Watching the news this morning, horrified to see the scenes of London last night," she wrote.

"Can't believe it was the same city I was in last night!"

Cyclist Geraint Thomas, a team pursuit gold medallist from Beijing 2008, urged radical action.

"Cant believe what's happening back home!! Get the army in, round them all up and ship them to Afghanistan. Give them something to fight for."


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