Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay in Tokyo

July 14 - A compromise has been reached in a potentially damaging row between London 2012 and the 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) over expenses for next month's Chef de Mission meeting, it was revealed today.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge had been forced to step in last week to try to defuse a dispute over whether London should pay for the accommodation of 200-plus Chefs de Mission when they travel to the city for a meeting next month.

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe was asked after addressing IOC members during the 123rd Session in Durban what plans had been put in place to cover these costs but indicated strongly that London was not prepared to pay.

"We have always been very clear about our plans," Coe said.

"I really don't think there's a great deal of ambiguity."

Rogge was quick to intervene.

"The issue of the accommodation is going to be studied by the [London 2012] Coordination Commission and we will try to find a solution," he said.

It has now been revealed that the cost of the accommodation at the Hilton Park Lane and the neighbouring InterContinental will be borne jointly by the IOC and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

They have agreed to share the cost of one room per delegation at a price of approximately £200 ($323) per night for each delegation for the meeting, which is due to begin on August 9 and last until August 12.

In addition, Olympic Solidarity, the IOC-funded group set-up to assist NOCs, are covering the cost of one flight per delegation.

The compromise was announced by Gunnilla Lindberg, the ANOC general secretary, during a presentation here to the 45 members of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)

"You will all receive a letter in the next few days that will make you very happy," she told the delegates attending the OCA General Assembly at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in the Japanese capital.

The Chefs de Mission meeting, which includes a tour of the Olympic Park, including the Athletes Village, has assumed greater importance after the ANOC General Assembly next year was moved from London to Moscow because the British Olympic Association were unable to afford to host it.

It means this will be most countries only opportunity to visit London before the Games open on July 27 next year.

"It is very important that everyone is there because London is not hosing the ANOC meeting," Lindberg said.

London's refusal to pay for accommodation to attend the Chef de Mission event has caused some resentment among NOCs but Coe has made it clear that only Beijing 2008 had footed the bill for such an occasion in the past.

"It isn't really an issue because we have always been clear about those arrangements," said Coe.

"We have secured very competitive [hotel] prices for the NOCs.

"The only Games hosts who have ever paid were Beijing, otherwise it has always been the NOCs and the IOC."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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