London 2012: Coe backs chemical firm Dow's connection

Image caption,
The wrap will go up around the stadium in early 2012

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has defended the role of chemical company Dow in providing a fabric wrap around the Olympic Stadium in east London.

There are concerns in India over the company's links to the firm behind the Bhopal gas leak disaster in 1984.

Now a cross-party group of UK MPs is launching a campaign to raise concerns over the London 2012 connection.

Dow stepped in to fund the wrap after it was dropped to save £7m from the stadium construction costs.

In 1999, Dow merged with the Union Carbide Corporation, whose subsidiary Union Carbide India, ran the Bhopal pesticide plant - the site of one of the world's worst industrial disasters which had led to the death of thousands of people in the previous decade.

Lord Coe told the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that he was satisfied, "that at no time did Dow operate, own or were involved with the plant either at the time of the [1984] disaster or crucially at the time of the full and final settlement.

"The Indian Supreme Court has upheld on two previous occasions the settlement that was reached by the previous owners of that plant."

Dow is one of the International Olympic Committee's "global partners", and not a dedicated sponsor with the London Organising Committee (Locog).

Locog has its own tranche of sponsors specifically for the London 2012 event.


Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz and former Olympics minister Tessa Jowell have raised their concerns to Lord Coe.

And some 21 Indian Olympic athletes have called for the Dow sponsorship for the stadium to be ditched.

But Lord Coe added: "I am satisfied that the ownership, operation and the involvement either at the time of the disaster or at the final settlement was not the responsibility of Dow."

Dow, the world's second largest chemical manufacturer, will be allowed to advertise on the 336 panels on the new stadium wrap, until a month before the games open next year.

The company is working on a plan to reuse the panels when the games finish.

Dow has not put a figure to the cost of making and sponsoring the wrap, which is made from polyester and polyethylene. The wrap will encircle the venue, spanning the sides from concourse level to the top tier of seating.

Each panel of the wrap is 25m high by 2.5m wide. They are being manufactured at a US plant in Seattle and will be installed around the stadium's metal skeleton early in 2012.

Dow will be able to brand the wrap until 26 June 2012, when its logo will be removed from the surface due to the International Olympic Committee's insistence on venues being "clean" from advertising during the Games.

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