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It will be left to those on the ground to salvage a meaningful legacy from the Games

THE Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will surely be a hugely successful event because event management is what those organising it are all about.

For all the grand talk of the importance of legacy when the bid was being made for these Games, like the London Olympics, the focus of the spending has been on putting on a show.

It is, or should be, a well-oiled machine that has been put in place, as was evident last weekend when Sebastian Coe, the man portrayed as the mastermind of the London Olympics, expressed his confidence that Glasgow will witness another great success story.

He said he was convinced of it because he had been reassured by the number of people involved who had also been at London two years ago. When, in the same BBC radio interview, he was then asked about his recent trip to Brazil for football's World Cup, he made a similar observation, to the effect that it had been like a reunion of his London organising team when he arrived at tournament HQ.

The Commonwealth Games will, then, look great because the future careers of so many of those involved rely upon that happening before the circus moves on.

All of which is good in the sense that it should ensure that one of the most frustrating problems in sport is avoided: that of incoming regimes wasting time by making all the same mistakes as their predecessors while protesting that they are entitled to a honeymoon period.

Yet, it was a bit galling to listen later in the week to Craig Reedie, former chairman of the British Olympic Association and current International Olympic Committee vice-president, claim in another broadcast interview that it would be wrong to expect the event organisers to take responsibility for legacy.

Reedie argued that it was down to the citizens of the country itself to capitalise on that event, but looked just a tad uncomfortable when BBC Scotland's John Beattie - his programme was examining links between sport and politics - pressed him on the question of the failure to sustain the rise in numbers of British people engaged in sport that we were promised as a result of the London Olympics.

A huge part of the case for bringing these sporting events to England and Scotland was that supposed legacy. It is hard to imagine either bid having gained the domestic support it did from sportspeople without the promises of long-term gain from such vast expenditure of public funds.

It is not good enough, then, to let those making their livings from persuading the populations of countries that there will be lasting benefit from hosting such Games to simply wash their hands of responsibility for ensuring that every opportunity is afforded for that to happen once they have won the bid.

There is, of course, a strong case to be made for specialist event organisers sticking to what they know best and leaving the job of feeding off that to those in the local sporting governing bodies who know their markets best.

If so, however, it should have been incumbent upon them both to consult with those organisations in terms of how they present the respective sports and keep out of their way when it comes to any project designed to bring about that objective. Yet there are clear examples of that not having happened.

In short, it is one thing to know how to stage a successful event and quite another to promote sport. As has been demonstrated in recent weeks with the debate that was conducted in this space with UK Sport's marketing people, it is evident that many engaged in sports administration in this country have little understanding of sport itself.

That view was reinforced last weekend by a call received at The Herald sportsdesk. It came from one Ian McCafferty, a name which will need no introduction to the majority of those who turn first towards the sports pages of newspapers.

However, the long-held suspicion that it does not include many of those involved in staging sports-related events was only fuelled by the reason for his call.

Half of the duo who formed one of the most iconic images in Scottish Commonwealth Games history, when he claimed second place behind compatriot Ian Stewart in the 5000 metres in Edinburgh in 1970, McCafferty was expressing bewilderment at having been overlooked when it came to carrying the Queen's Baton Relay through his home village.

McCafferty should have been invited to run with that baton rather than being forced to ask, yet after hundreds if not thousands of Scots had run with that piece of metal, here he was feeling snubbed. Arguably worse than being rejected, however, is the excruciating possibility that his name did not even register with people who are making a living out of their involvement in the Commonwealth Games?

As with those organising the Games, the job of running the baton relay is essentially a logistical one with the emphasis on staging a smooth-running event. However, when it comes to sport itself - what it stands for and brings to the nation - it will be down to those who truly care about it to try to salvage something in the way of legacy.

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