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Official says 2012 security spend necessary

The chairman of the British Olympic Association says any increase in the security budget for the 2012 Games "is a price you absolutely have to pay".

SYDNEY // The chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA) said today that any increase in the security budget for the 2012 London Games "is a price you absolutely have to pay" to make sure the Olympics are secure. "The safety of the athletes and everybody (is) paramount," Lord Colin Moynihan said. "Whatever it takes must be spent in order to secure their safety. That is critical." British media reports say the security budget is likely to bulge to £1.5 billion (Dh10.070 billion), three times the original estimate.

Lord Moynihan, who met with the Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates today, said the security budget "has yet to be finalised." "I fly back from here (Sydney) and we've got an Olympic board meeting (this week) when we'll discuss it," he said. "If the security budget is greater than originally conceived, which it is, that is a price you absolutely have to pay to make sure the games are a success and the athletes are secure, and everybody who comes to the country as our guest ... is fully secure."

Lord Moynihan said whatever extra money needed to be spent on security would not jeopardise other Olympic operations. "That can't be traded off against other aspects of the games," he said. Lord Moynihan said the current global financial crisis was also having an impact on some sponsorship arrangements. "It makes it tougher, no question, (but) I believe we will achieve our targets," he said. "Some are under greater strain than they were a matter of months ago so we need to respond to that.

"Ultimately we've given commitments to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and we need to see those commitments through." *AP

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