Statement on Dispatches By The London Marathon

For immediate release : 8th April 2010

The London Marathon Limited and the London Marathon Charitable Trust Limited totally deny any allegations of wrongdoing and are surprised and shocked at the lack of evidence presented by the programme’s so-called investigative team to support this desperate attempt to undermine one of the world’s finest sporting events.

We have repeatedly offered to meet the programme makers – an offer which has been repeatedly rejected. They have also refused to allow us on to the programme to say what we wanted to say unedited.

We have nothing to hide and all our financial activities, whether it is the actual organisation of the London Marathon, the distribution of grants from the London Marathon Charitable Trust or our relationships with charities and runners, are transparent and subject to intense scrutiny by independent organisations and approved by them.

In attacking the money that The London Marathon Limited gives to its charity the programme displays breathtaking ignorance about the way charities trade to raise funds.  Virtually every major charity in Britain has a separate trading company.  Just like them the whole of the profit of our trading company goes to charity but only after the costs of putting on the event which include costs such as the expense of toilets, barriers, venue hire, staff, rent and all of the other costs of every year staging 5 world class events, and putting on Britain’s largest consumer fitness show.

The programme has also conveniently but not unexpectedly ignored all the positive responses it has received from the various charities, councils and others it has contacted during its so-called investigation.

Charities have also rallied to support the London Marathon.  Jo Dyson, Chair of the Event Managers Forum an Institute of Fundraising Special Interest Group, said, "The London Marathon is one of the most important days in the fundraising calendar for thousands of charities.  We recognise that the
London Marathon can never satisfy all of the demands from charities and the public for places and believe that in balancing the competing demands it has made the distribution of places as fair as can be in the circumstances."

Nick Barrett, Chief Executive of The Outward Bound Trust said, “The Outward Bound Trust has a number of choices of where to advertise and chooses the London Marathon packages because in our experience they are effective and offer good value”.

David Bedford, Race Director of the London Marathon, said, “Perhaps we should not be surprised that a programme that has lied about the London Marathon previously now broadcasts a toxic mixture of opinions and half truths masquerading as facts”.

The grants made by The London Marathon Charitable Trust have helped over 750 projects in London and in particular have helped save many playing fields from being developed. Alex Welsh, Chief Executive of The London Playing Fields Foundation said, “There is little doubt that without the vision and generosity of the London Marathon Charitable Trust grassroots sporting provision in London would be a lot poorer.”

The London Marathon Charitable Trust is proud of the way in which it has helped to provide the millions of Londoners with improved recreational facilities.   Only yesterday it announced £500,000 awarded to Hackney Marshes to transform the home of grassroots football and to improve sports facilities.

In addition, in February this year it was announced that The London Marathon Charitable Trust was helping to save another London playing field from closure - Camden Community Football and Sports Association had been awarded £700,000 to purchase Chase Lodge Sports Ground from the London Borough of Camden - the sixth set of playing fields to be saved with help from the Trust in the last eight years.

We will be referring the production company, Blakeway, and Channel 4 to OFCOM to consider its journalistic methods and its failure to meet us to discuss in detail these allegations.

 

 

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