Rules are meant to be broken ....... discussCoe discovers that Olympic shooting events are 'illegal'
By Oliver Marre
Published: 17 August 2005
Less than two months after he was victorious in securing the Olympic Games for the capital, Lord Coe has met his first major setback. It turns out that three of the pistol-shooting events are outlawed under legislation passed in 1997, bizarrely making it illegal for the British team to train on home soil.
According to an article due to appear in the next issue of The Field magazine, the law even calls into question whether the events - the 50-metre men's, the rapid fire, and the women's 25-metre - will be permitted during the Olympics themselves.
A shooting lobby group, the Sportsman's Association, has written to the International Olympic Committee, calling on them to campaign for a change in the law, which dates from the Dunblane high school murders.
"Please use what influence you can to persuade the British Government to amend the two Firearms Acts of 1997," reads their letter. "So that the British people may, in line with the Olympic ideal, prepare themselves properly for the Olympic Games."
According to a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, there is unlikely to be any such change.
However, he points out that the Firearms Act will allow the home secretary of the day to make a special allowance for the duration of the Games. "It's true that they can't train or practise in this country," he admits.
"But the Home Secretary has indicated that the events will take place for the Olympics themselves."