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Spurs stadium plan 'unacceptable' to UK Athletics

Category: England

Published: 17th Nov 2010 06:40:55

Tottenham's proposal to take over London's Olympic Stadium with AEG after the Games in 2012 is "completely unacceptable" to UK Athletics (UKA).

Along with West Ham, Spurs have been named as a preferred bidder, but their plan to "rip up the athletics track" is anathema to UKA chairman Ed Warner.

"It is [essential] for Tottenham and AEG to go back to the original promise made in 2005," Warner told BBC Sport.

"That was about UK Athletics being at the heart of the Olympic Park."

While Tottenham plan to make the east-London stadium an 80,000-seat venue, West Ham want to create a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use in a collaboration with Newham Council.

The Tottenham bid has been submitted in collaboration with AEG, which runs the O2 Arena beside the River Thames in Greenwich, south London.

"Tottenham and AEG have made it clear that they will rip up the track and make it a football only venue and that is hugely concerning to me," added Warner, who was unequivocal in his support of the bid made by West Ham and Newham Council.

"There was a promise made back in 2005 by London 2012 chief Lord Coe to bring the Olympics to London.

"The greatest city in the world deserves a facility that is capable of hosting world championships and major athletics events. That is really the legacy we need for the Games for our sport.

"We've had sporadic conversations with AEG over the course of the year and one brief conversation with Spurs.

"Anything they might propose for an athletics legacy has to be a compromise to the stadium continuing to operate at a world-class level. To my mind that is completely unacceptable."

Warner suggested that the Spurs and AEG bid would look to offer something to athletics by either adding a "small" amount of seating to the warm-up track or upgrading an existing facility elsewhere, both options he described as "very inferior".

He also expressed concern that relationships with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) could be adversely affected if the stadium was left without the capacity to cater for athletics.

"Britain has a history of letting down the IOC and the IAAF in not delivering on promises on athletics," stated Warner.

"I think it was instrumental in the Games coming here that that promise was made and if Britain reneges it would be a very sorry state of affairs."

And Warner urged Spurs to rethink their proposal.

"There is an important opportunity here to invest in a whole range of sports to sustain them for the future. West Ham and Newham have shown that they can embrace that opportunity and work with athletics with a very credible proposal.

"I would like to see Spurs and AEG come up with something equally exciting."

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BBC News, 2010. Spurs stadium plan 'unacceptable' to UK Athletics [Online] (Updated 17th Nov 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/108622/Spurs-stadium-plan-unacceptable-to-UK-Athletics [Accessed 16th Apr 2014]

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