Rejected €55.6m Olympic bid 'three minutes late'

Bids for £50m (€55.6m) to build pre-Olympic training facilities in the North were rejected because they were submitted three minutes late, it emerged today.

Bids for £50m (€55.6m) to build pre-Olympic training facilities in the North were rejected because they were submitted three minutes late, it emerged today.

Sport NI, a British government delivery body, turned down the proposals for a new cycling velodrome in Belfast and an upgrade to the existing Mary Peters running track in the city.

They were submitted on behalf of Belfast City Council by private consultants FGS McClure Watters.

The council had urged Sport NI to exercise discretion and consider the bids despite their late submission, however, after taking legal advice, the body decided to stand by its original decision to reject the applications.

The council has now lodged an official appeal to Sport NI.

While Belfast will not host any element of the 2012 London Games, city councillors hope to attract national teams to use the city as a pre-event training camp.

The council was applying to Sport NI for £40m (€44.5m) to build the velodrome and £9m (€10m) to build an indoor training facility and upgrade the outdoor track at the Mary Peters venue.

The bids amounted to 75% of the project’s total cost. The council would have paid the remaining quarter.

A council spokeswoman said: “Belfast City Council has lodged an appeal with Sports NI over its rejection of two bids submitted under the Elite Facilities Programme.

“We await the outcome of that appeal in relation to the late submission of bids by the council’s consultants.

“The bids are in connection with a velodrome facility in east Belfast and the upgrading of existing facilities at Mary Peters Track.

“The council’s legal advisors continue to monitor the situation.”

A spokesman for Sport NI said the matter was being dealt with by its legal representatives.

No one at FGS McClure Watters was available for comment, however it is understood the consultants dispute that the bids were lodged late.

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