By Tom Degun

July 12 - Officials, like David Higgins (pictured right), involved in building the venues for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are paid "modest" salaries even though nine of them earn more than the Prime Minister, Sir Craig Reedie has claimed.

Earlier this month, figures released by the Government revealed that the nine senior executives at the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) are paid more than David Cameron’s annual salary of £142,500 ($216,335).

Higgins, the ODA chief executive, topped Britain’s list as the highest-earning boss of a taxpayer-funded Government guango with an annual salary of £394,999 ($599,664).

But despite the statistics, Sir Craig, the architect of London's successful bid to host the Games and now a member of the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board, claimed it is difficult to change the wage structure at the ODA as many of the senior figures at the organisation such as Higgins were recruited well before the global recession gripped the country.

Sir Craig told insidethegames: "It’s all very well pass judgement when certain individuals are seen to earn more than the Prime Minister but what you must remember is that senior figures at the ODA enter into contracts of employment years in advance of the project being completed.

"At the time the contracts were signed, no one foresaw a global recession and it is obviously very difficult to turn the whole wage structure a company around just because the economic climate has changed.

"Senior political figures like the Prime Minister have just come into Government and therefore, they are able to make a certain demonstrations by reducing their salaries and bonuses.

"But it not so easy for other organisations with a certain wage structure in place to do that."

Sir Craig (pictured) added that he feels the earnings of the senior executives at the ODA are probably a fair reflection of their worth considering the size of the task they are responsible for.

He said: "I think the professionalism that has been shown by the people at the top ODA is outstanding and in world competitive terms, the remuneration is modest."

Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012, supported Sir Craig's stance stating ODA senior executives deserve to be paid the salary they are on because of the world class job they are doing.

Coe said: "The quality of work done by the ODA on the London 2012 project has been extraordinary.

"They have done a fantastic job well ahead of schedule and I feel their earnings are an accurate reflection of the work that they are doing."

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