Dear Sir,

ONCE again fraud and corruption take the headlines, in this case away from our state-of-the-art velodrome, “Fraud Squad Probe into Palma Arena” Wednesday's Daily Bulletin. Much of this type of malpractice would be eliminated if the Latin custom of patronage was ended. It may surprise many Brits to know the number of jobs under the control of elected councilors. At each change of government scores of consultants, directors etc. (and occasionally family members) are dismissed to be replaced by scores of other sinecures from the jubilant ex-opposition.

An added complication here is that the final cost was way over budget. This is almost inevitable with such blue ribbon projects. In the UK Concorde, the Channel Tunnel, Millennium Dome, Wembley Stadium etc. went way over the so called budget. I qualified the word budget because it implies careful estimation with delays and cost overruns factored in. These prestige projects excite the interest of politicians and they decide to go ahead regardless (Prime Minister Blair personally lobbied for the London Olympics). Negative contingencies like delays and overruns are stricken from the cost side of the budget. Future income and other benefits are jacked up on the revenue side until an acceptable balance sheet is arrived at. Any criticisms of the predictions are brushed aside as showing a lack of vision. In any event by the time the project is finished the perpetrators will be long gone. Tessa Jowell has told us London 2012 will not go over the £9.3 billion budget while Ken Livingstone has pledged that the Games will make a profit. So we've obviously no need to worry?

The velodrome has been a big success. Throughout the Beijing Olympics Majorca has received a lot of positive publicity. The performance of the cyclists at the 2007 World Championships has been repeatedly mentioned as has the benefits to Team GB's medal tally by the use of its first class facilities for training. Thanks were expressed by the BBC commentators to Majorca's Gold Medal cyclist Juan Llaneras for his help at the Arena and no doubt as Velodrome manager he'll be involved with the UK's 2012 preparation.

Mike Lillico
Playa de Palma


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