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Best Few

The one man scourge of the rackets within The International Olympic Committee and FIFA. Essential reading.

His books

1992: The Lords of the Rings was a smash hit translated into 13 languages. The Lords and its disclosures of Olympic corruption and the fascist background of the IOC president changed world perceptions of the organization forever. Published in USA as Dishonest Games. Sports Illustrated lists it as one of the Top One Hundred Sports Books of all Time.

1996: The New Lords of the Rings: Olympic Corruption & How to Buy Gold Medals Top of the UK best-selling sports books list for five weeks and in top ten of all sports books published that year. Translated into German, Danish, Norwegian, Japanese and Spanish. Pirated in Chinese - twice, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and in Korean.

2000: The Great Olympic Swindle The explosive story of organised crime and the Olympics, how the IOC fooled the world into thinking it reformed itself after the cash-and-sex-for-votes scandals - and the secret documents revealing how the IOC spent $2 million on American spin-doctors to mislead a pliant media.

The counter olympics network (CON) is a network of groups and individuals who have come together to organise around the London 2012 Olympic Games. Our aim is not to oppose the Olympics as such, but to use the spectacle to strengthen existing campaigns and activism on local issues like housing, privatisation and surveillance. We also want to hold the organisers of the Olympic Games to account, to ensure the promises made to the local people impacted on by the Games are kept.

We ask questions like:

    * How can local communities resist and respond to the impact of the Games, both in the short and long term?
    * How can the assumptions behind who benefits from the Olympics be publicly challenged?
    * How can the corporate profiteering inherent to the Olympics be exposed and challenged?
    * How can we take the opportunity to add London voices to those from other cities around the world who have challenged the Olympics, and further a growing critical perspective?
Glasgow Games Monitor 2014 are a group of people raising awareness about the impacts of ‘regeneration’ via the Commonwealth Games 2014 (CG 2014), and the Clyde Gateway Intiative (CGI). @2014games
Recent information about developments at the Clays Lane Estate
Sustainable Hackney is a portal for a network of groups and individuals committed to protecting and enhancing Hackney’s built and natural environment. Sustainable Hackney works to:
  • Raise awareness of environmental issues and solutions to problems.
  • Promote communication between local groups and individuals with an interest in sustainability and environmental issues.
  • Campaign against threats to Hackney’s environment which detract from the quality of life for local people.
  • Provide a point of contact and help groups and individuals to get involved in environmental action.
  • Set up meetings to bring groups and individual together around environmental and sustainability issues
  • To encourage local authorities, statutory and voluntary bodies and businesses to develop and implement good environmental policies.
  • Sustainable Hackney reports on campaigns, projects and views on its website.
  • It has useful links to local green groups and organisations

The Institute for Public Policy Research is the UK’s leading progressive think tank, producing cutting edge research and innovative policy ideas for a just, democratic and sustainable world.
The Social Exclusion Task Force will concentrate on identifying the most at-risk and focus on specific hard–to–reach groups including children in care, people with mental health problems and teenagers at risk of pregnancy
Citizens is a support website for Manor Gardening Society Allotments, evicted from the Olympic site in September 2007 after an extensive campaign to save their historic gardens. The campaign has been continuing to hold the authorities to account in meeting their stated commitment to providing a good quality, larger site in the Legacy Park post-2012.
Diamondgeezer's 2012 blog features five walks photo-documented just before the July 2nd 2007 enclosure. Also follow the link in the right hand menu to his main blog in which he regularly writes about new developments around the Olympics Park. And lower down in the right hand menu in the link "olympics 2012" see what he had to say when the bid was won.
Hackney Independent is a pro-working class organisation based in Hackney. We are trying to turn the tide of New Labour policies which are damaging the lives of ordinary people in the borough.
Leabank Square is just across the water from the Olympic Park and has been suffering from the building work - they are campaigning for better treatment from the authorities.
The London Action Resource Centre (LARC) is a collectively run building providing space and resources for people and groups working on self-organised, non-hierarchical projects for radical social change. The resources of the building include office space, computer and internet facilities, a roof garden, a radical reference library, banner-making and tool space, as well as meeting and event rooms. 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, London, E1 1ES.
‘London Pools Campaign’ is an organisation set up by 6 of the threatened and closed London swimming pools to highlight the plight of swimming in the capital, particularly in the light of the government’s very recent commitment to combat Britain’s couch potato culture. Backed by Sport England, the London Pools Campaign is asking for 1. Greater recognition of swimming as a prime sport for healthy living and building local communities 2. Funding for London’s threatened pools 3. A London-wide strategy for promoting swimming and preserving the capital’s historic pools and lidos Following the Performance and Innovation Unit’s report A Sporting Future for All in December 2002, The London Pools Campaign welcomes the initiatives and commitments set out by The Government.
The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO) is a diverse alliance of active citizens and community leaders organising for change. Over 35 faith groups, schools, student organisations, union branches and charities are in membership, across 5 East London boroughs.
The London Gypsy and Traveller Unit works with Travellers and Gypsies in North and East London boroughs, and in particular Hackney, where the office is based. We use local experience to influence policy and practice across London and nationally, and support Gypsy and Traveller representation at all levels. London Gypsy & Traveller Unit, 6, Westgate Street, London E8 3RN. Tel 0208-533.2002 Fax 0208-533.7110
Autonomous social centre which was in Rampart St E1
OPEN is the trading name for Organisation for Promotion of Environmental Needs Limited, a not for profit membership company limited by guarantee. OPEN's objects are to promote excellence in the quality of the built environment, the provision of transportation and the provision of amenities, and to ensure that changes to these have proper regard to the needs of residents and businesses and the maintenance of a sustainable residential and business community. For more information please email
Mr. Stop Boris was so horrified by the thought of Boris becoming Mayor that he took that most modern of preventative measures immediately upon first hearing rumours that Boris was putting himself forward for the position in July 2007: he started a Facebook group called Stop Boris. In the two months leading up to the election his desperation spilled over into and before he knew it he’d become a several-posts-a-day blogger on the Stop Boris blog. Whichever way the election went, he assumed he’d be able to kick that habit after 1 May, but how wrong he was. He’s grateful to Boris Watch for providing him with a more appropriately named outlet through which to continue to expose just what a shocking Mayor London now has, and has since started a non-Boris-related blog, Pushing the boundary, in an effort to reassure people that he doesn’t only think about blond buffoons – and to try to make a name other than Mr. Stop Boris for himself.
Jonathan Brind's site devoted to the Lea Valley / Walthamstow Marshes and impacts of factors like the Olympics and unfathomable decisions of the Lea Valley Regional Parks Authority
London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 'success' stories from the DCMS
The Thames Gateway & Olympic Legacy page
London’s planning governance set to change The Government has spelled out the new governance framework for the capital which will recast planning responsibilities and give the Mayor of London, borough councils and neighbourhoods greater decision making powers over the city's housing, regeneration, economic development and Olympic legacy. See more at: Just Space is a non-partisan, volunteer-run website which aims to make it easy for people to keep tabs on their elected and unelected representatives in Parliament.

Queen's Market, Upton Park is a thriving and profitable covered street market. Situated in the East End it has been in existence for over a century and is the heart of a vibrant community that draws in people from across London and beyond. Famed for its affordable and culturally appropriate produce, it is much more than just a market, it is a living information exchange and a communal space. Queen's Market is an important centre of employment as well bringing millions of pounds into the local economy. It exudes entrepreneurial spirit, tolerance and good humour. Little wonder then that Londoners love it. Sadly, it is now under direct threat due to the arrogance and irresponsibility of Newham Council. Local people are determined to resist the Sir Robin Wales' (Mayor of Newham) scheme to hand the market community over to far from saintly - St Modwen Properties Plc. See Alamy for photos.
The London Games will speed up the regeneration of Newham, East London and the Thames Gateway forever, providing hundreds of jobs and business opportunities before, during and after 2012.
The 'Save Wanstead Flats' campaign completely oppose plans by the Metropolitan Police to base its Olympics operational centre on Wanstead Flats in 2012. We completely oppose the dangerous precedent the City of London Corporation proposes to set by attempting to amend the Epping Forest Act of 1878, which protects Wanstead Flats from enclosure and development, so that the police’s plans can be pushed through. We demand a proper explanation about how Wanstead Flats was chosen over the Olympic site itself and why there has been absolutely no consultation with local residents.
This webcam shows live pictures from the main site of the 2012 Games in Stratford.
URBAN FORUM is an umbrella body for community and voluntary groups with interests in urban and regional policy, especially regeneration. It was set up in 1994 as the national voluntary organisation through which local and central government could relate to the community and voluntary sectors on such issues.
COHRE is the leading international human rights organisation campaigning for the protection of housing rights and the prevention of forced evictions.
Recent information about developments at the Clays Lane Estate
Monitoring child poverty in London
A links page which connects to a range of agencies concerned with housing
The Guardian’s London Olympics page.
The JOG Group was established in 2005 to develop research into journalism, politics and the Olympic Games. This strategy covers the period 2006-2012 and co-ordinates a set of individual and collective projects during this period. The core team is a set of six senior scholars in the area of media and sport from five different institutions. The work of the JOG Group will commence with research and analysis of journalism during the build up to the Beijing Olympic Games of 2008, and continue through to the London Olympic Games of 2012.
Recent stories from London Olympics organisers.
An online journal drawing content from professional academics to students, journalists and other writers concerned with issues arising from the transformations taking place in the East of London.
Olympic headlines from 'Sporting Life'
News section on London 2012
Olympic stories from the Telegraph.
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Mega Events
Academic economist critical of Mega event hype
"It may be a maxim that sport and politics should never mix, but in truth the modern-day Olympics have nearly always been inter-twined with the politics of the day. As this year's Olympic Games arrive, I'm going to examine the history of political dissent at the Olympic Games, and look at some of the resources on the Internet covering these events."

A PDF of all of Martin Belam's accumulated blogs on this topic can be downloaded from the URL above.
Countering the IOC's misinformation and propaganda about the origins of the modern Olympic Games, particularly the continued misleading promotion of Baron de Coubertin as its sole founder.
The IOC guarantees the promotion of Olympism and the smooth running of the Games in accordance with the Olympic Charter. Discover in detail the structures, missions and financing of this prominent institution.
London 2012
In 2007, the last Government diverted funds from the Big Lottery Fund to help pay for the 2012 Olympics. The funds were promised to be paid back after the Olympics are completed. In response to making sure this happens as planned, DSC has launched a new campaign, The Big Lottery Refund demanding all the funds be returned when promised. See also Directory of Social Change
"London 2012: A Games for the Rich The 2012 London Olympics has turned into a farce before it has even begun. It appears that up to a million people have been unsuccessful in getting tickets."
In late 2003, twenty families from the Hackney council site and fifteen families from the Newham council site first heard they would need to move to make way for either the Olympics, or for the regeneration of East London. This was the beginning of 5 stressful and uncertain years for the families.
This labour of love contains a section 'London 2012'. An excellent piece of photojournalism about the Olympic site before redvelopment.
Connects to a range of agencies which are engaged in the roll out of the London Olympics.
Access to the original Bid Documentation
London Olympics site information
Site criticising the financial impact of London 2012 and particularly the loading of the costs and risks onto Londoners.
NOGOE is a pressure group opposed to the use of Greenwich Park as the venue for the 2012 equestrian events
Sign the petition here
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News about Olympic constructors
Community campaign against the games-time basketball training venue on Porters Field, Leyton Marsh.
An essay on the realities of the impact of the London 2012 Olympic project, gleaned from his many hours of walking the area, observing and speaking with the local people most deeply affected. Dismissed by Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe as "largely negative comments about regeneration in the borough and the 2012 Olympic Games", it resulted in Hackney Council withdrawing its offer to host the launch of his new book "Hackney: That Rose Red Empire" at a Hackney library. See also: Sinclair on the Olympics
A series of walks and talks in the Olympic Zone and marshes of the Lower Lea Valley, featuring poems by Jude Rosen inspired by the contested landscape and its history.
In the lead up to Liverpool 2008, European Capital of Culture and the London 2012 Olympic Games, CCPR is developing its major events research strand with a mixture of academic and commissioned projects and a particular focus on Olympic-related research.
This report provides useful information on the state of knowledge and preparation for the Olympics of two important, predominantly Asian retail and catering streets in London’s East End. As the report describes,these two streets, one in Tower Hamlets and one in Newham, could be affected by the impact of the Olympics for better or for worse. The report analyses what local retailers believe will happen to their street and to themselves. It also points to some of the possible hazards brought about by successful regeneration, in particular the danger of large retail chains driving out small independent and family-based businesses.
HLST and the Olympic Games. London’s hosting of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 brings a unique opportunity to raise the profile of the subjects in our Network, their contribution to a successful event and to the long-term legacy of lifestyle enhancement which is promised. Our courses provide the professional skills, knowledge and understanding which are essential for success in such a multifaceted and complex event and to ensuring secure foundations for the future development, our research and scholarship, and our capacity to provide consultancy will inform practice.
2006 paper by Gavin Poynter from University of East London's London East Research Institute. It commences with an examination of why such importance is attributed to the concept of ‘legacy’ and then undertakes a review of current approaches and methodologies used to measure the Olympic effect; it then considers some of the experiences of cities that have recently hosted the Olympic Games and, finally, discusses the relationships between the Olympic Games and the wider regeneration of the Thames Gateway.
Estate Gazette's Paul Norman blogging on property development and the London 2012 Olympics
Villiers Park Educational Trust was founded in 1924 as The Manor Charitable Trust by four old Etonians (Arthur Villiers, Gerald Wellesley, Alfred Wagg and Sir Edward Cadogan) to provide a charitable trust to run and support the Eton Manor Boys Club in Hackney.
Their Mission Statement says: "Sustainable development is a tough agenda that people tend to think of as someone elses job. We help people to treat sustainabilty as an integral part of what they do. Our aim is to help make the ideal practical, working in close partnership with clients and their stakeholders to translate what once seemed like wishful thinking into tangible programmes and achievements. Beyond Green applies the principles of sustainable development to housing, regeneration, place-making, lifestyles, design, and communications. We conceive, plan, design, communicate, consult on, train, develop business models for and help to deliver sustainable developments." Their client list includes: Olympic Delivery Authority, East of England Development Agency, The Housing Corporation, English Partnerships, The London Borough of Islington, Manchester City Council, New East Manchester Ltd (urban regeneration company), The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, Unilever.
Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) is an independent think-doing organisation involved in regeneration, local economic development and local governance. CLES brings together a network of subscribing organisations, which includes regeneration partnerships, local authorities, regional bodies, community groups and voluntary organisations.
Lower Lea Valley, Olympic and Legacy, Compulsory Purchase Order Inquiry website. Objectors submissions available here.
The Olympic Masterplanners' News page.
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Olympic Studies
The modern Olympics were established with the highest ideals, including fostering international reconciliation. Yet in practice the Olympics have become the plaything of powerful interest groups, especially governments and corporations. So great is the divergence between rhetoric and reality that it makes sense to examine the assumptions underlying the design of the games. Help in explaining the Olympic trajectory may be found by looking for ‘design flaws’, namely problematical assumptions inherent in the conception of the games.
The OCRC website provides a clearing house for research materials concerning the Olympics in general and preparations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Games in particular. OCRC is a service of the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University in Canada. Royal Roads University is located in Victoria, B.C., on Vancouver Island, which is a 90-minute ferry ride away from Vancouver and Whistler. The service was initiated by Professor Michael R. Real in the spring of 2006 with support from the Royal Roads University research office. If you have research studies on the Olympics, you are invited to submit them to us for possible posting on the website. You must have copyright clearance to do so. Has some interesting articles about the role of television in shaping the ideology of the contemporary Olymics at Selected Olympic Studies
"The Olympic Studies International Directory is the major reference source and research tool on a world-wide scale on documentation and research in the area of Olympic studies. The Directory aims to be an information and research tool as well as to facilitate the exchange of information between the Olympic academic community".
There are lots of reasons to oppose Olympic Games as we know them, not just the 1996 or 2000 games but all of them. A brief outline of ten reasons is given here. The points made here summarise ideas analysed in far more depth and detail in various studies. Unfortunately, critical analyses of the Olympics receive virtually no attention compared to the massive governmental and commercial promotion of the Olympics.
A journal with a critical article on the economic myths of Olympic boosterism
"The International Centre for Olympic Studies, established at The University of Western Ontario in 1989, was the first of its kind in the world. It remains the only such Centre in the Americas. It has as its primary mission the generation and dissemination of academic scholarship focused specifically upon the socio-cultural study of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement".
"The International Olympic Academy functions as a multicultural interdisciplinary centre that aims at studying, enriching and promoting Olympism".
Other Olympics
Beijing 2008
Official Beijing Olympics website.
Human Rights Watch on Beijing 2008.
Beijing 2008 & Human Rights.
China Digital Times (CDT) is a collaborative news website covering China's social and political transition and its emerging role in the world. CDT aims to use the new generation of participatory media technology to create a fully interactive network that will track and report news, facilitate conversations and debate, and share resources and knowledge in a virtual China community. CDT is run by the Berkeley China Internet Project out of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
Describes FTC's unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with the IOC and UK government regarding support for independent Tibet and action on China's suppression of dissent and press freedom. Has links to interesting reports and press releases.
Play Fair 2008 is an international campaign taking place in the lead up to the 2008 Olympic Games to push for respect for workers’ rights in the global sporting goods industry.
Chicago 2016
Official site of the Unlympic Movement, organisers of the Chicago 2009 Winter & Summer Unlympic Games. Providing a satirical and critical challenge to Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid.
We are a diverse group of citizens who have come together to oppose the Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics. We are building a multi-issue coalition
Salt Lake City 2002
Matthew Burbank, author of "Olympic Dreams: The Impact of Mega-events on Local Politics", challenges 4 myths about the relationship between the IOC and host cities. Published in the Daily Utah Chronicle just prior to the Salt Lake City games that resulted in a big corruption case concerning bid rigging.
Sochi 2014
Sydney 2000,,351496,00.html
Archive of Australian 2000 Olympics-related websites
Archived Sydney 2000 web pages.
Review of book about Sydney 2000 Olympics.
From the University of New South Wales Law Journal. "The purpose of this paper is partly descriptive, to document the major elements of the legal structure that has been built up to accommodate the Sydney Olympic Games, and partly critical, to comment positively or negatively on the appropriateness of some of the steps that have been taken in the process of creating the State-sponsored non-government public event that will be the Sydney Olympics."
Vancouver 2010
Citizen Journalism site by a Vancouver businessman critical of the dishonesty and media manipulation of the Olympics machine. Focussed on business issues but with many articles on damaging local impacts and collusion of the mainstream press in promoting the games.
Thoughts and news from Pivot Legal Society lawyer David Eby on the 2010 Olympics, Vancouver, Olympic traffic lanes, housing and other city happenings. He writes: "I work full time with the Pivot Legal Society on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. My work there focusses on housing and policing, although it would be more accurate to say that what everybody down there is working on is directly related to poverty. I also work with the Impact of the Olympics on Community Coalition as a board member, working to ensure the Olympics in 2010 benefit all of Vancouver, and not just the fortunate few."
Dave Zirin, Press Action's 2005 and 2006 Sportswriter of the Year, has been called by Robert Lipsyte “the best young sportswriter in the United States." He writes about sports for the Nation Magazine, their first sports writer in 150 years of existence. He is also the host of XM satellite’s popular weekly show, Edge of Sports Radio. Zirin is, in addition, a columnist for SLAM Magazine, the Progressive,, and a regular op-ed writer for the Los Angeles Times. Zirin’s new book is "A People's History of Sports in the United States," part of Howard Zinn's People's History series for the New Press. As former Yankee and Ball Four author Jim Bouton said of this work, "Finally, the long-awaited prequel to all the sports books you've ever read. Put this first in the line of sports books on your shelf. It will help make sense of all the others He is also the author of "Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports" (with a foreword by the immortal Chuck D.). Sports Illustrated wrote that Terrordome is "a provocative, sometimes chilling, look at sports and society right now."
Ethics in elite sports by various European journalists
The Clean Clothes Campaign is an international campaign, focused on improving working conditions in the global garment and sportswear industries. There is a Clean Clothes Campaign in 9 European countries. These are Austria, Belgium (North and South), France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Website of Andrew Jennings, investigative journalist who has published books about IOC & FIFA corruption.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) had worked closely with key partners throughout the whole bidding process to ensure not only a successful result but also a sustainable legacy for the whole region. The success of the Bid is only the beginning of what will be an exciting and challenging time ahead. We will now continue this partnership working and play our part to deliver the Olympic and Paralympic Games and facilities that will serve the whole region for generations to come.
Campaign to save Crystal Palace Park
"Climate change is perhaps the gravest calamity our species has ever encountered. Its impact dwarfs that of any war, any plague, any famine we have confronted so far. It makes genocide and ethnic cleansing look like sideshows at the circus of human suffering." "We need to put climate change right at the top of the political agenda — it is by far the biggest threat to humanity. We have to turn this into the primary political campaign. That means keeping on the streets, keeping up the demonstrations and putting an enormous amount of pressure on our politicians." "It's not just ... that Bush has withdrawn from global agreements and global attempts to do something about this problem, he has actually quite deliberately gone about to try to destroy those attempts, and try to destroy any agreements to sort out climate change." George Monbiot
ELBF was set up in August 1997 as a forum for local birders to network more easily and to accumulate data on the local avifauna and most importantly to promote the importance of local patch birding. We meet on the second Tuesday in every month (except July and August) at 8pm, upstairs in the County Arms , Hale End Road , Highams Park , London E4. £1 towards room hire.
Hackney Environment Forum (HEF) is a network of groups and individuals committed to protecting and enhancing Hackney’s built and natural environment. HEF works to:
  • Raise awareness of environmental issues and solutions to problems.
  • Promote communication between local groups and individuals with an interest in sustainability and environmental issues.
  • Campaign against threats to Hackney’s environment which detract from the quality of life for local people.
  • Provide a point of contact and help groups and individuals to get involved in environmental action.
  • Set up meetings to bring groups and individual together around environmental and sustainability issues
  • To encourage local authorities, statutory and voluntary bodies and businesses to develop and implement good environmental policies
  • has useful links to green organisations
  • HEF reports on campaigns, projects and views in its newsletter.
  • Check the Olympic link for information about background and recent developments
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Campaining organization opposing the transport of nuclear waste through densely populated areas such as London.