Organisers of the London 2012 Olympic Games have set aside a further 19 million pounds (29 million dollars) to boost crowd control measures as the “scope of demand” from visitors had only recently become clear, officials said on Wednesday.
Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said the money would be taken from the 9.3 billion pounds allocated for in the Olympic budget.
He reaffirmed that the costs for the Olympics would not exceed the budget limit and that, on the contrary, organizers would have money to spare.
It was estimated that 476 million pounds would be left over for “contingency plans.” Earlier this year, a parliamentary report estimated that overall costs could rise to more than 11 billion pounds.
Explaining the reason for upgrading funds for crowd control, Robertson said: “We have only very recently become aware of the scope of the demand for the Olympic Games.” The money will be used to improve crowd management and public information in central London as well as what organizers describe as “the last mile.” The large number of people that were currently turning out to watch the Olympic torch relay through Britain had “alerted organizers to the fact that more stewards and crowd flow measures may be needed” in London, said Robertson.
“We know exactly how many tickets have been sold and roughly how many people should be in London. Absolutely nobody knows how many people are going to turn up.” Organizers LOCOG told dpa Wednesday that so far, 7 million tickets had been sold for the Olympics, and 1.25 million for the Paralympics which follow.
“London this summer is going to be the place to have a party...It is very difficult for us to know exactly how many people are going to come across on the train, in the car or on the ferry only for a party,” said Robertson.