World News



British Queen celebrates



The organisers of the London Olympics have been drawn into further controversy after it emerged that around 150,000 tickets marketed to Britons were snapped up by other European Union residents.

People in other EU countries obtained just under 5% of the three million tickets which went on sale in the first round ballot, the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) confirmed.

EU law meant they were free to apply for the tickets, despite being allocated their own batch of seats.

Priti Patel, the Conservative MP for Witham, Essex, told the Sunday Telegraph: "British taxpayers and Londoners who have paid through their taxes to fund the Games will be alarmed and hugely disappointed to see they were not given priority on tickets when they went on sale. The system is a farce."

Alison Seabeck, the Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, agreed some people will feel "rightly aggrieved that they won't be able to share in this fantastic event".

The figures do not include the second round sale of 2.3 million tickets which began on Friday.


Wimbledon officials have beefed up security after a little-known protest group tried to stage a demonstration within the ground.

Democracy campaigners 15M London - which has a movement in Spain, where it originated - attempted to smuggle banners and tins of paint inside SW19, where it was feared they would target a high-profile match.

The 14 protesters, all Spanish and wearing yellow T-shirts, sent the grounds into lockdown with a Metropolitan Police helicopter monitoring the massive queue. It was feared the group would target world number one Rafael Nadal who was playing on Court One.

Thousands of fans - who had already queued throughout the night in the hope of seeing some of the top stars play - were delayed as bosses closed the gates for an extra 45 minutes.

Ian Ritchie, chief executive of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club, said it was not known if the 125th championships would be targeted again but security had been increased.

He said: "We put a particular message out looking at strengthening the presence on the court. We have service stewards from the armed forces - we have 650 of them.

"They are hugely equipped to deal with the situation as well as the G4S security. For all we know, we have to be prepared for people coming back in on Monday."

A police spokesman said: "At approximately 10.30am today a number of people were stopped in the queue at the tennis for Wimbledon and items were also found near to this group, believed to be for use in a demonstration or publicity stunt.

"The police informed the All England Lawn Tennis Club which delayed the opening of the gates where additional searches took place. A number of individuals are not being allowed access to the tennis following the searches. No arrests were made."

15M London put a message on its website saying: "Important: don't go to Wimbledon - mission aborted." The activists describe themselves as "a movement of outraged citizens" fighting for people rather than economic powers.


Photo by MDales, Press Association


Demand for Olympics tickets could outstrip supply with one in five adults saying they plan to buy tickets for the London 2012 Games.

But while 70% believe the Olympic Games will boost the UK economy, only 39% believe this will outweigh the cost of hosting the spectacle.

Organisers are releasing 6.6 million tickets to spectators in Britain, with a deadline of April 26 for applications to join the ballot.

Outdoor advertising agency Kinetic Worldwide said the Games could be "massively over-subscribed", with 10 million Britons saying they plan to apply for tickets.

A further 2.2 million tickets will be available to overseas spectators and organisations sponsoring the Games.

In the capital, 36% of people say they plan to buy tickets, with just 23% saying tickets are too expensive. Organisers say one quarter of tickets will cost less than £25 and 90% will cost less than £100. The best seats at the opening ceremony will cost £2,012.

More than half of Londoners say they are now excited about the Olympics, up 10% since October to 51%. Across the UK 40% of those surveyed said they are excited.

More than half of those planning to go to the Olympics say they are not sports fans but consider it to be a "once in a lifetime" experience.

James Copley, of Kinetic UK, said: "Our research suggests the level of anticipation and interest in attending the Games is growing and London will see a surge in visitors at the top end of expectations."

Kinetic Worldwide surveys a panel of 500 UK adults every quarter.


Photo by

 Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.


A new housing strategy which critics believe threatens Newmarket's position as "the capital of the horseracing industry" has been declared legally flawed by the High Court.

Leading names in the racing world asked a judge to quash a decision to adopt the Forest Heath Core Strategy Development Plan, arguing it could destroy the unique, horse-friendly character of the Suffolk town.

Photo by davelee_jblog


A decision on who will move into the £537 million Olympic Stadium, due to take place on Friday, has been postponed, the Olympic Park Legacy Company has said.

A spokesman said "more time is needed to consider the bids".

London rivals West Ham and Tottenham, both in football's Premier League, are in a head-to-head race to move into the stadium in Stratford, east London, after the 2012 Games.

An OPLC board meeting on Friday was widely seen as the point when a final decision would be made for the showpiece stadium.

The company is in charge of securing an economical viable future for the Olympic Park. Final submissions were made by the rival bidding teams last Friday.

An OPLC spokesman said: "Given the detailed nature of both bids received, we need more time to seek further clarification with both bidders in order to identify a preferred bidder. The stadium is a significant public asset and we have a duty to run a robust process.

"In addition to the two short-listed bids, the Legacy Company also has the option of the original plan to convert the Olympic Stadium to a 25,000 seats, mixed-use venue. In going to market, the Legacy Company's aim was to consider options which would enhance and build on that plan."

West Ham, in a joint bid with Newham Council, want to create a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use.

Tottenham, in a joint bid with sports and entertainment giant AEG, has pledged to create an athletics legacy elsewhere and contribute to the refurbishment of the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace.

An athletics legacy was one of the key promises that London 2012 made to the International Olympic Committee when it won the right to stage the Games.


Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.


Footballer Craig Bellamy has been arrested on suspicion of assault.

The Cardiff City striker, who is on loan from Manchester City, was taken into custody after two men were injured in an early-morning incident in Cardiff.

The 31-year-old former Wales star - who has also played for Norwich City, Coventry City, Newcastle United, Celtic, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool - was bailed after speaking with officers.

He was arrested after the alleged assault on Caroline Street - informally known as "Chippy Lane" - at around 2.45am on Sunday. The men, aged 20 and 26, sustained facial injuries.

A South Wales Police spokesman said: "A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault and has been bailed pending further inquiries."

The police were unable to confirm the date Bellamy was bailed to.



The snow-covered Olympic Stadium has sparkled under floodlights for the first time.

Prime Minister David Cameron, accompanied by a choir of local schoolchildren, hit the button for the big switch-on which shone a megawatt of light on to the showpiece venue.

It was the first time that all 532 bulbs had been lit together - in a scene that will be repeated during the London 2012 Games.

Mr Cameron joked that the £537 million stadium in Stratford, east London, looked more like a winter Olympic venue with ski-jumper Eddie the Eagle expected at any moment rather than the setting for the London 2012 summer Games.

But he told the 400-strong invited crowd, which included 2012 builders at the site: "It is being delivered on time and on budget thanks to British genius and many of the people here."

Introductions were carried out by London Mayor Boris Johnson, who did not seem aware that the lights take up to eight minutes to reach full power.

"They are coming, they are coming," Mr Johnson told the crowd before all the lights had phased in.

He described it as a "wonderful and historic evening", while also joking that with plans so advanced, including 75% of building work complete, London 2012 might consider holding a snap Olympics now 17 months before the Games "to catch the world napping".

There are 14 lighting towers reaching 70 metres (230ft) above the sports area. They are supporting a total of 532 individual lights.

Mr Cameron also spoke of changes to unpopular plans to cut £162 million from school sport.


Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.


The UK's top sports stars hoping to add the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award to their trophy cabinets.

People will be able to vote for the sportsman or woman they think should win after the show starts at 7pm on BBC1, live from Birmingham.

This year's stand-out favourite is AP McCoy, who finally won the Grand National this year on Don't Push It. The 36-year-old has been champion jockey a record 15 times in a row and has ridden more than 3,000 winners.

Graham Sharpe from bookmaker William Hill said: "This year's award has really struck a chord with punters, and with the racing industry getting behind McCoy's cause we have seen a wholesale gamble on Tony McCoy winning.

"If he does we face a six-figure hammering, but as Tony is such a great ambassador for racing, and therefore betting, we won't be unhappy to pay out. One online McCoy fan has gambled the biggest ever Sports Personality bet of £7,000 on McCoy at odds of even money."

Coming up behind the jockey in the list of favourites are golfer Graeme McDowell, who became Europe's first US Open champion for 40 years when he won his maiden major title at Pebble Beach, and darts player Phil Taylor, who collected six majors this year, including the World Championship, Premier League and World Matchplay crowns.

Outside bets are Amy Williams, Britain's first individual Winter Olympics gold medalist for 30 years, Lee Westwood, the world's number one golfer, heptathlete Jessica Ennis, cricketer Graeme Swann, 16-year-old diver Tom Daley, cyclist Mark Cavendish and boxing heavyweight David Haye.

Former England captain David Beckham is to receive the BBC Sports Personality Lifetime Achievement award. The midfielder is 35 and still plays professional football for US side Los Angeles Galaxy. He is England's most capped outfield player and won six Premier League titles and the Champions League with Manchester United. In 2001 Beckham was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

At the end of a year in which England football fans expected so much from the national team at the World Cup in South Africa, there are notably no footballers on the shortlist.

Last year the award was won by Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs.


Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved


Revised plans for school sports funding will be announced on Monday after the Government was forced into a U-turn over proposals to axe entirely the Schools Sports Partnership network, it has been reported.

Education Secretary Michael Gove is expected to announce that some elements of the scheme will be retained at least until after the 2012 London Olympics but with much-reduced central funding.

Staff numbers will also be cut and the organisation scaled back under a compromise deal agreed with Cabinet colleagues, the Guardian said.

A change of heart was first signalled by David Cameron on December 1 - just a week after he vigorously defended the plan to axe a scheme he said had been a "complete failure".

It came after world champion diver Tom Daley, 16, and several prominent British Olympic champions were among the signatories to a letter calling for a rethink amid fury from headteachers.

The about-turn is believed to have been timed to coincide with a visit by the Prime Minister to the Olympic stadium in east London to turn on Christmas lights.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was reported to have taken the lead in demanding at least a partial reprieve - arguing scrapping partnerships could harm the UK's pledge to use the Games to increase participation.

The Guardian said the existing £162 million-a-year Department for Education funding would still be stopped from March - and replaced at a much lower level worth "tens of millions" until 2015.

Cash would be drawn from existing education, health and culture budgets.


Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.



Football unites countries and peoples: R. Abramovich (Russia, 2018 World Cup)  and A. Yaroslavsky (Ukraine, UEFA EURO 2012) at Metalist Stadium (Kharkiv)



The Russian Federation government is going to attract funds of the big business in preparing for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This was announced by Russian PM Putin at a press conference dedicated to Russia’s victory in the bidding for World Cup 2018.

"We want to attract business to minimize government expenses on preparing for the championship. I cannot rule out the possibility that Mr Abramovich may take part in a project,” PM Putin said.

The Russian Federation is not the first post-USSR country to count on support of oligarchs when preparing for major international football events. Ukraine hosts the Euro 2012 and it extensively involves both government and private funds.

A significant portion of projects is put in place by partial or complete funding by oligarchs. In many cities, rich businessmen have taken the responsibility for preparing stadiums, airports, hotel facilities and infrastructure. Most oligarchs like Mr Abramovich mentioned by PM Putin own FCs playing in the Eurocup.

Experts believe that Russia will adopt the Ukrainian experience and properly prepare for the 2018 World Cup by reducing government expenses and financial risks.