Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea Pensioners Ban Germans from Using Their Home as Olympic Beer Hall

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea Pensioners Ban Germans from Using Their Home as Olympic Beer Hall

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew Beard Sports News Correspondent

CHELSEA pensioners have fought off an audacious bid by German Olympic chiefs to take over their home.

German officials offered [pounds sterling]1 million to use the Royal Hospital Gardens for a month-long beer hall-style festival. Its large gardens, historic setting and proximity to the river made it an ideal choice for the so-called "Deutsches Haus" for VIPs and athletes.

But sources close to the negotiations say the approach was rejected by the Royal Hospital -- home to Second World War veterans -- because the German presence may have upset residents.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Hospital declined to comment on the German offer, but said: "We have had a number of approaches for our facilities during the Olympics but no decision has been made."

Germany is one of several visiting nations vying to rent London's top party venues, giving an estimated [pounds sterling]120 million boost to the hospitality industry.

The richest of the 205 visiting teams have budgets up to [pounds sterling]10 million each and are in a bidding war to book venues from royal palaces to museums.

French Olympic chiefs were first out of the blocks last week when they beat their American rivals to sign a [pounds sterling]500,000-plus deal with Old Billingsgate market for the month of the Olympics and Paralympics. It is the biggest party venue in the capital and will be converted into "France House" offering French cuisine and entertainment for up to 2,000 guests a night.

Russia is back in the market after a [pounds sterling]6 million offer was not enough to convince the Royal Albert Hall to cancel its summer music programme. The Russians are looking for a home for "Sochi World" to showcase the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort.

They aim to outshine their efforts at this year's Vancouver Games when they hired the city's science museum at a cost of more than [pounds sterling]15 million. …

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