VANOC tightens it belt

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The organising committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics Games is tightening its belts in light of the current economic downturn.

Vancouver 2010's Olympic organising committee is freezing new recruitment, cutting back on unnecessary travel and padding its contingency fund to fend off the effects of the global economic slowdown. John Furlong, chief executive officer for 2010, has told the Canadian press that he has been given no indication that any particular stream of revenue for the Games is in danger, but that the organising committee is tightening its belts anyway. Furlong's remarks come as one of the major Olympic sponsors, General Motors, has asked the Canadian government for a C$2. 4bn loan. Furlong says GM has delivered on all its promises so far, as have all the other sponsors, and he doesn't believe anyone will break any promises. He says contingency planning so far doesn't include looking for other suppliers in case any existing one falls through. He says instead officials will build a financial safety net that will give organisers the room to make up any shortfalls. Other event sponsors in trouble include Teck Cominco, contracted to provide the metal for the 2010 medals, which is selling off assets and slashing capital spending in a bid to cut expenses as it struggles with debt. And Nortel, which is the communications supplier for the Games along with Bell, lost C$3. 4bn in the third quarter of 2008. Other measures to keep the Games budget in check will be presented the Olympic's board of directors this week. The current budget is C$1. 6bn, which doesn't include the C$580m spent on the venues. Major revenue generators for the Games are sponsorship and ticket sales and both targets were exceeded for 2008, organisers have said. The current contingency fund is C$100m.

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