DD2440 Boxing Road to Tokyo: European Qualifier

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
10 March 2020
Decision by: 
Niran Mothada, Executive Director of Strategy and Communications

Executive summary

This decision seeks approval to spend up to £100,000 from the Major Sports Events Budget towards delivery of the Boxing Road to Tokyo: European Qualifier. The event will be staged at the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.


That the Executive Director of Strategy and Communications approves:

Expenditure of up to £100,000, by way of grant funding, to GB Boxing Events Limited towards the staging costs of the Boxing Road to Tokyo: European Qualifier.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background


The success of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has cemented London’s position as a world-leading host of major sporting events. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has also added significantly to the range of world class sporting facilities available for hosting events in London. A key part of the on-going legacy of London 2012 is ensuring that these facilities and others around London are put to good use and act as an important sporting showcase for London.

London has secured a portfolio of events since the Games that will help sustain our position as a world-leading host and is in keeping with the stated legacy aims from London 2012, one of which is to ensure that the facilities built for the Games continue to be used to stage high-level international sporting events. They include the 2015 Rugby World Cup, 2016 European Swimming Championships, 2016 Track Cycling World Championships, 2017 IAAF/IPC World Athletics Championships, 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup, 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, 2020 UEFA EURO, 2021 UEFA Women’s EURO and 2023 UEFA Champions League Final.

Recognising that most major sporting events require some level of public support, the GLA allocated £2.4 million over four years to future major sporting events as part of the 2014/15 budget setting process. This Major Sports Events Budget supports the GLA’s major sporting events strategy for London, ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’, which is a key element of the Mayor’s ‘Sport for All of Us’ strategy. An additional £1 million was allocated to the programme as part of the 2016/17 GLA budget setting process, making a total investment fund of £3.5m available between 2014 and 2021.

The London-wide approach to bidding for and supporting major sporting events has established the GLA as the first point of call for anyone looking to bring their event to London, and firmly establishes the GLA as London’s strategic lead for major sporting events.

The Event

In June 2019, following a 6-month investigation into corruption in boxing, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the International Federation of Boxing, AIBA. As part of this decision, the IOC decided that Boxing should remain on the programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and that a taskforce would be established to deliver the qualification process and boxing tournament at the Games. The IOC’s taskforce has implemented a continental-based qualification process, with five continental events to be held in 2020 to provide athletes with the opportunity to qualify for Tokyo.

The IOC approached the British Olympic Association in 2019, seeking to host the European Continental Qualifier in the UK, with London as its preferred host city. GB Boxing Events Limited (“GB Boxing”) has subsequently been working with partners to secure support to enable delivery of a world class event in London.

The European Qualifier carries the highest quota of qualification places of the continental qualification events and is therefore the most important event in the entire qualification process. The European Qualifier will see 50 men’s places and 27 women’s places directly secured by boxers, out of 186 men’s and 100 women’s places available in total for Tokyo 2020.

The event will attract up to 45 competing European nations and it is anticipated that senior figures from a variety of international sporting federations will attend the event, providing the opportunity to showcase first-hand London’s credentials as the home of world class sport, and potentially enticing future events to be hosted in the city.

Evaluated against the GLA’s Major Sports Events assessment criteria, the event scored:

• Economic Impact – Silver
The event will generate just over £1,000,000 of economic impact within Greater London. This figure will be made up of spend from both spectators and the event organiser.
• Exposure / Broadcast – Bronze
As this is a new event and format there is no history of coverage. It is expected that the event will have strong interest from European markets alongside a strong domestic audience, especially as the event is an Olympic qualifier.
• Community Engagement – Gold
The event provides multiple community engagement opportunities. GB Boxing has developed a community engagement programme which aligns with the Sport Unites programme. In addition to this, sports equipment from the event will be left as a legacy to be distributed amongst local boxing clubs.
• GB Boxing has been working to secure sufficient partnership funding to deliver a balanced event budget and has requested £100,000 from the GLA. This will be a contribution towards a total event budget of £1,600,000. In addition to the GLA’s contribution, £900,000 has been secured from UK Sport, GB Boxing, the National Governing Body will be making a value in kind contribution of £16,000. All further income will be secured through ticket sales and sponsorship.

The financial contribution of £100,000 will be added to the overall event budget. The budget will cover costs relating to event marketing and operations.

The Major Sports Events team sit on the Event Stakeholder Board, Marketing Sub-group and Community Engagement Sub-group to ensure that the event is governed correctly and meets all of the objectives and targets set by the Event Stakeholder Board.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives of the proposed expenditure are to:

• drive economic benefit to London;
• promote London internationally as a destination for business, education and tourism;
• deliver tangible community benefits to Londoners;
• support delivery of the Tokyo 2020 - Boxing European Continental Qualifier;
• increase opportunities for Londoners to engage with major sports events through opportunities to attend, volunteer at, and participate in community sport activity that is linked to, the event;
• ensure GB Boxing community engagement programme aligns with the Sport Unites programme; and
• reinforce the Mayor’s sports strategy and the GLA’s major sports events strategy, ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’.

The GLA Major Sports Events team will support the achievement of the above objectives by:

• maintaining a close working relationship with GB Boxing;
• attending regular Marketing and PR meetings with IOC, BOA, UK Sport, GB Boxing, LLDC & London & Partners;
• attending regular event steering group meetings; and
• work closely with GB Boxing and London & Partners to promote the event.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The GLA Major Sports Events Team has consulted with event partners to ensure that as many Londoners as possible, including those with protected characteristics (as defined in by the Equality Act 2010), are considered in the planning of the event and have the chance to be involved in some way, be that through playing, training, volunteering or supporting teams.

The GLA has worked with Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) (Host venue operators & partner) to ensure that London’s Copper Box Arena is an accessible venue, with a relevant and effective strategy. Appropriate assistance to all Londoners and visitors will be available at the events.

Other considerations




Likelihood/ Impact

Response & Mitigation


The event does not deliver against London’s key strategic objectives.

Low/ Low

The evaluation process undertaken to determine city support for events is robust and thorough.


The GLA will attend regular steering groups to ensure that the event is meeting the agreed objectives. The meetings will cover marketing, operations, ticket sales and communications.



The event is being organised at late notice and may not create strong cut through across media and promotional assets, thereby exposing the Mayor/ GLA to reputational risk.

Medium / Medium 

The GLA Major Sports Events team will work closely with the GB Boxing Marketing Manager to help shape the marketing campaign.


The GLA will ensure that ticket prices are kept low, giving people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the event the chance to do so.


The GLA Major Sports Events team has experience of dealing with seat filling programmes and stand ready to implement a plan if required.



With AIBA suspended this could cause reputational challenges to the event


Low/ Medium

GB Boxing is working with PwC to screen judges before they are appointed to the event.


UK Sport international relations team will update the Event Director with any updates on AIBA meetings/ conferences.


The venue layout has been devised in a way to ensure that athletes, media and judges are all kept separate during down time to prevent any problems.


Due to the short delivery timeline, procuring a broadcaster may be challenging.


GB Boxing is in ongoing conversations with broadcasters. In November 2019 a TV Production Company was procured which will help GB Boxing’s conversations.


​​​​​​​There are no conflicts of interests to declare in relation to the staff involved in this


Financial comments

Executive Director’s approval is sought for expenditure of up to £100,000 in financial year 2019-20 by way of grant funding, to GB Boxing towards the staging costs of the Boxing Road to Tokyo: European Qualifier, as set out in this decision form.

This expenditure is to be funded from Major Sports Events 2019-20 Budget.

Activity table



DD Approved

March 2020

Funding agreement executed between GLA and GB Boxing

March 2020


March 2020

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