BBC BLOGS - David Bond
« Previous | Main | Next »

Athletics chief makes crucial intervention

Post categories:

David Bond | 15:54 UK time, Thursday, 20 January 2011

Monaco

Lamine Diack's comments on the future of the Olympic Stadium are the strongest and most significant intervention yet in the battle between West Ham and Tottenham.

The president of the International Association of Athletics Federations is the first to admit that English is not his strongest language. But no one involved in the process to select a legacy tenant for the £500m stadium can be in any doubt about what he believes after his interview with me earlier today.

Diack told me it was "unacceptable" that Britain was even discussing an option which did not include athletics at its heart. He added that the country's credibility would be "dead" if London reneged on its promise, given five years ago in Singapore, for the stadium to be retained as an athletics venue after the Games.

Just for the avoidance of any doubt, this is exactly what London said on page 23 of its bid book:

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will provide an opportunity to deliver much needed sports infrastructure to the UK - and London in particular ... Specific plans for the facilities to be retained in the park include:

Olympic Stadium - conversion to a 25,000 seat multi-purpose venue with athletics at its core.

To be clear, neither West Ham or Tottenham will be offering to fulfil that promise when they submit their final plans to the Olympic Park Legacy Company on Friday.

Both clubs are bidding to rebuild the Olympic Stadium as a 60,000 seat football ground.

The crucial difference, in so far as the "Singapore promise" is concerned, is that West Ham will keep the Olympic running track, which would allow London to host a future World or European Athletics Championships.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


They will also have the ability, they say, to reduce the capacity to 25,000 for smaller track and field events like an IAAF Diamond League meeting.

Tottenham will rip up the running track and instead fund a refurbishment of track and field's current home at Crystal Palace, which is in desperate need of investment and transport improvements.

At the centre of their argument is the belief that football and athletics will simply never be compatible in the same stadium. So, rather than crunch two sports together in an unhappy compromise, their option would give Spurs the new home they want at the same time as allowing athletics a permanent 25,000-seat stadium which could be expanded for major international events like the World Championships.

It is a dilemma for Baroness Margaret Ford, chairman of the OPLC, and her American chief executive Andy Altman, who are aiming to recommend a preferred bidder to their board next Friday. But the OPLC finds itself in a much happier position than it might have done when this process began.

Will Diack's comments make a difference to their deliberations? Probably not. Both Baroness Ford and Altman are not likely to be swayed by the noisy campaigns which have been mounted by both sides in the last two weeks.

Throughout this process they have made it clear they will make their choice based on five criteria - flexible usage of the stadium, a symbol of regeneration for London's east end, speed of redevelopment after the Games, commercial viability and value for money.

The Olympic Stadium in Stratford

Diack says that the Olympic Stadium in Stratford should have athletics at its heart after the Games. Photo: Getty

Although each has equal weighting, there is no question the last two are more important than any promises to athletics made in Singapore.

But are Diack's remarks potentially embarrassing for those who made those promises? Yes. Do they matter for Britain's credibility? Yes again.

It's worth remembering that Diack was one of the key IOC voters targeted by London's bid team back in 2005.

A Francophone who studied in Paris, Diack was naturally thought to support their rival bid for 2012. London was already in his bad books after they scrapped plans in 2001 to stage the 2005 World Championships after money for a new stadium at Picketts Lock could not found.

He needed a great deal of persuasion to get the athletics lobby on board and, as he told me today, if he knew there was even a chance that those promises to his sport would not be kept, he and others from track and field would never have voted for London.

Some will argue that, while that is all very well, the IAAF has not come forward to pay the £5m it would cost to keep the stadium as a 25,000 athletics venue.

They can't afford it because, like it or not, athletics offers one event (a World Championships) which would fill a 60,000-seat stadium once every 20 years for a given country. Premier League football does that at least once a fortnight.

So, with the athletics-only option long since buried in the rubble of the Olympic Stadium construction site, what this decision boils down to is this:

Is it more important to take a risk on West Ham's offer, the majority of which is publicly financed, but which nevertheless allows London to keep a promise?

Or is it better to opt for the safer financial bet of Tottenham, which is privately funded, but which will see Britain and London lose face?

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Our reputation is in tatters on the world stage already. Upsetting the IAAF now won't matter a jot. More importatntly, will Spurs actually a) move into the stadium or use it as leverage to screw money out of Tottenham council to help fund the stadium in Tottenham and b) come through on the promise to rebuild Crystal Palace to an acceptable standard? I am extremely dubious to the idea of a Premer League football club being handed a publicly funded stadium considering these clubs are so wealthy, fritter money away on vast wages lining the pockets of greedy agents and proceed to put very little b ack into the grass-roots of the sport.

  • Comment number 2.

    So the government...or i say we have paid billions for the olympic bid and stadium. Then a bloke says it should stay as it is or it was all a lie from 5 years ago. That is fine for him, but how do they expect to keep it running (pardon the pun) with visits every once in a while.

    I am a spurs fan and would gladfully see us get the stadium, surley the revenue from this will benefit the government and mayors office. a home match every other week and also concerts and other entertainment.

    the government have to sell to someone otherwise they will be a laughing stock for wasting money when the country needs it most. why all the arguments???

    Just dont get it anymore.

  • Comment number 3.

    Tosh!!...the world is a different place to what it was 6 years ago.

    If this chap wants to put up £500m or however much the football clubs are offering to keep it for athletics, then all well and good.

    Remember that the day after the Games the stadium becomes a liability in terms of maintenance and security costs to someone.

    I'm a sports fan, but my taxpayers hat says get the best price for it.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am convinced the shambles of this 2012 caused us to lose world cup 2018, come on who would believe a word we say, we rightly did not win the bid and should the wrong decision be made here we can kiss goodbye in our lifetime of ever hosting major events again

  • Comment number 5.

    Why was it never even considered that we build a stadium with movable seating, much like the Stade de France, where the lower tier of the stands can be rolled across a running track? This would have ensured our "promise" was never in jeopardy. Is it too late to consider this should either Spurs or West Ham succeed with their bids?

  • Comment number 6.

    Ahem! London will have told a big lie.....blah blah blah......

    What planet does this character live on?

    The WHOLE presentation was a big lie!

    Only a small minority want these games
    The costing was by far the biggest lie of all.

    It is the classic of political scams.....The taxpayer gets the bill the ones that promote, get the accolades...Knighthoods peerages etc etc

    Remember Heseltine and his 'beacon for the world to admire' (the dome)? Remember that? We got the £800 million bill, he got the peerage!

    It's always lies that how they do it!

  • Comment number 7.

    #3 - Well said, spot on. My sentiments exactly.

    It would criminal to have a half billion pound stadium used for the odd, poorly attended Athletic event even if the UK could afford it.

    It would be far, far, far worse for that to be the case in today's climate of massive cuts in spending in public services across the whole country.

  • Comment number 8.

    Usual BBC bias

    Last two statements leave no doubt who he favours.

    I also like the way that he states that its publicly funded as if its a bad thing.

    Surely having Newnam council, a LOCAL council involved acts as a check and balance making sure that local needs and sports other than football are adequetely represented.

    If Tottenham get it, it will be football and Beyonce concerts at £80 a seat, how is that serving the local community sporting or otherwize?

    G

  • Comment number 9.

    I dont see the problem? so what if the bid team lied about the stadium? what can the ioc or iaaf do about it? they cant take the olympics away now. its been god knows how long since we hosted the olympics, and thatl be the case again no doubt, whether you keep the stadium for athletics or not. there hasnt been a world championship athletics event in my lifetime, ok so the commonwealth games went to manchester a few years back (and city benefited from that with a new stadium).

  • Comment number 10.

    and does anyone care NO, seriously though I like athletics but after all the drug scandals athletics has no credibility itself. Athletics is a minority sport, you would never get sixty thousand at any meeting, the stadium would have to be subsidised by the public for ever.

    despite my moniker I'm not convinced it would be the right move for Spurs and with such a tiny fan base and relegation almost certain West Ham should be moving to a smaller ground not a bigger one.

  • Comment number 11.

    What happened in Atlanta after 1996? Didn't the Atlanta Braves baseball team demolish half the stadium and use it as their new home? I don't see any athletics legacy there...

  • Comment number 12.

    In 2005 Britain made a promise to the world, to sport and to the taxpayers of this country. What right does football have to enforce its own dubious standards onto London 2012. As such, I have to support West Hams bid - it's the only decision that will ensure any integrity for our tarnished nation. Spurs, meantime - you are a much admired club who are sullying your reputation - please go away and just build a stadium in North London; roughyl in a place that suppports the name of your club, would be good :-)

  • Comment number 13.

    This should only be about money now ! We are all struggling to stay above the poverty line and Tessa Jowell and her cronies can say whatever they like , I don't want to be financing some massive white elephant just so they look good.!

  • Comment number 14.

    Doing the right thing in the world stage doesn't seem to have helped England with the world cup bid, so I think the UK in general needs to stop looking to impress the world and start looking after it's own country for a change. The main issue I have with a football club moving to this ground is what if you don't support that team? Why should our taxes have been used to build a stadium for this purpose when it should be kept as an athletics stadium to benefit UK sports - why? Because there's money involved and THAT is what runs the decisions, NOT the good of the countries athletics programme!

  • Comment number 15.

    So that's another big lie from Tony Blair then.

  • Comment number 16.

    Well on the one hand Tottenham didn't make the promise or give the impression.

    But on the other hand the people responsible for deciding which (if either) proposal to accept should regard themselves as bound by the promise.

    And I think that a lot od Spurs fans would feel that Stratford's a long way from their heritage. Is there anybody apart from the Spurs board who want them to make this move?

    After the World Cup debacle, is anyone going to be brave enough to take the risk that this Diack person might just have the influemce to swing major athletics events away from the UK for the next twenty years? We don't have a track record of turning major world sports bodies around even when we're right and there are understandable accusations of unfair play. What chance when we're wrong?

    They may as well tell Spurs now that they have no chance. And probably rightly from a number of perspectives.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    The people of Stratford will pay a heavy price for the Olympics. Tear up the track. The IOC was promised a sporting legacy not a track and field legacy. There should be no track at the stadium if a soccer club wants to bid. UK Athletics are trying to get a stadium on the cheap, they should be bidding and paying for it from their own budget.

  • Comment number 19.

    its a very subdued BBC Blog day.

    I log on to whats new and lo and behold?

    Nothing.

    My View on the Staduim move is very simple;

    whoever moves to it, should pay the full asking price thats for sure and not just be given it at a reduced rate.


    I would like to see the Hammers have a new home as i think thier surporters and that part of London deserves something to be on par with Arsenal.

    and on the subject of the OG's what a flop they will turn out to be as well all that Lottery Money thrown away in search of? wimbledon champions, cross country runners? rowers? boxers? curlers? what a farce! the whole thing is.

    up the Gunners.

  • Comment number 20.

    There are only 2 truly major international sporting events - the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. After 2012 I can't see us hosting either again in my lifetime so don't see any harm in upsetting the dreadful cronies who run the IOC and FIFA.

  • Comment number 21.

    8. At 5:53pm on 20 Jan 2011, G76 wrote:
    Usual BBC bias

    Last two statements leave no doubt who he favours.

    I also like the way that he states that its publicly funded as if its a bad thing.

    Surely having Newnam council, a LOCAL council involved acts as a check and balance making sure that local needs and sports other than football are adequetely represented.

    If Tottenham get it, it will be football and Beyonce concerts at £80 a seat, how is that serving the local community sporting or otherwize?

    G

    Complain about this comment

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Erm the problem with it being publically funded would be that most councils can't afford to fund the things that they have got to do at present anyway and are having to make hundreds / thousands of job cuts as it is. That's the problem. Is Newham somehow different? If not, how are they going to be able to fund the multi-million pound stadium??

  • Comment number 22.

    " Doing the right thing in the world stage doesn't seem to have helped England with the world cup bid, so I think the UK in general needs to stop looking to impress the world and start looking after it's own country for a change. "

    i quite like the above little passage and agree 100% with it to.

    i would just add that englands attempts to impress the world have failed miserably for years and years and years wether that be in Sport or Politics and above all Presentation the rest of the world see's through the spin and the lies and is if anything rather amused at the futile attempts to be taken seriously.

    this is what happens when you sleep to long with one woman, in this case the Disunited States of America.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'd be interested to know how many of those who aren't bothered about the Olympic Stadium retaining athletics facilities are bothered about Qatar possibly hosting a winter World Cup, despite outlining a summer World Cup in their presentation ?

    Essentially it's the same thing. Diack is right, that the presentation was a ''lie'', if they later renege on their promise.

    If the athletics facilities aren't retained, then both London's 2012 bid and Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid will have had untruths in their presentation, which, once they safely have won the bid process, they can backtrack on.

    In fact, it's pretty much the same as any politician before an election !



  • Comment number 24.

    The whole idea of allowing a football club to get its hands on a new stadium, paid for by the British taxpayer, on the cheap and with no regard to its intended use as promised by the UK government is, frankly, offensive.

  • Comment number 25.

    Good that these comments are being passed. This country finds it all too easy to trade convenient promises for expediency. It reflects an ongoing contempt we hold toward the wider international community and the promises we make to it. Glad to see these comments being made.

    Napolean described Britain as a nation of shopkeepers and he was right.

  • Comment number 26.

    @24 I completely agree with you. Neither West Ham nor Spurs should be allowed anywhere near this stadium. It's offensive to the British taxpayer, it's in total contradiction to the original bid for the Olympics and it's grossly unfair to the rest of the Premiership for whom taxpayers aren't building a stadium for free.

  • Comment number 27.

    boo hoo, who really cares, it's got to the point where any international sports event bidding is built on lies and empty promises, it'll be a long time 'til London will re-bid at which point anyone who cares about this now will no longer hold their position

  • Comment number 28.

    I'd be more worried about free swimming for kids, and local athletics centers. Instead of a stadium which will remain empty 95% of the time, costing a load more.

    Head in the clouds this guy. I couldn't give a damn about what these nobody's who ride on back of luxury because they have a 'vote' think of us. It'll be a good budgeted Olympics, nobody is gonna be shot or blown up, nobody is going to get Ill from dodgy food, and in the end the cream of Athletics will attend and compete. (and He'll get free box seats)

    This Legacy carp that is tacked on to bids NEVER EVER materialises. It's just bid gamesmanship.

    With Regard to the Spud's bid, it seems much much better. They'll pay for a refurb of an Athletics center. What more does this guy want?

  • Comment number 29.

    Just let whoever made the promise live up to the promise and do what they promised. Simples. They must have calculated that the place would be continuously full of ecstatic, paying athletics fans before they spent public funds on such a thing......or did they? Maybe they didn't think it through.

    Is it too late to cancel?????

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    It doesn't matter if our reputation with people of his generation are dead, by the time we're bidding for another Olympics his generation will be dead too.

  • Comment number 32.

    As an expat in the USA I find the state of play in England right now a terrible shame. For years the British have struggled to excel and compete at the highest level, some saying lack of investment at grass roots level is the real reason for this, but we still always find some way of achieving respectability.

    In fact where proper structured investment has taken place we can see the the fruits of this investment. If we look at our current cricket, and rowing squads we see how this investment pays off. Unfortunately the country is all but bankrupt and being run by people who do not have the skills or integrity to get us out of it. However England is not alone in facing this as all countries are trying to re invent themselves economically.

    What saddens me most about England is this, everything is being done on the cheep or has no real controls and expenditure just runs a muck(this is certainly the case with the millennium dome and the new Olympic stadium).

    Compare this situation to the united states where every a grade university has excellent stadium (some seating 100,000)and the infrastructure to go with it, only difference is they don't have to justify there existence by having a legacy, they just exist because they have to.

    Given the state of play in the UK and the funds already spent scrapping this Olympic enterprise is clearly never going to happen, so it looks like making the best of a bad deal is all that can be achieved. Good luck to the Hammers and their new home

  • Comment number 33.

    please forgive my last posts i mistook this blog for a streaming media version of Question Time.

    so apologies for drifting slightly of topic.

  • Comment number 34.

    Spurs are taking the same amount of taxpayers money as West Ham but with some clever PR it's gone under the radar and none of the journalists either seem aware of it or have decided not to mention it.

    At least the West Ham bid has the backing of the local council and is truer to the legacy promise.

    Add to that Spurs will find it difficult legally to move from Tottenham to another clubs catchment area, didn't they used to moan about another club having done that to them?


    You do have to admire the sheer arrogance of the Spurs bid I suppose, most people would have thought it would have just been laughed off.

  • Comment number 35.

    "My View on the Staduim move is very simple;

    whoever moves to it, should pay the full asking price thats for sure and not just be given it at a reduced rate."

    Maybe this isn't such a bad idea from #19. Provide two prices.

    Option 1. The new client is allowed to rip up the track and gives the club full ownership. This price should cover the majority of the building costs as in effect the club will be buying a ready made stadium with good security facilities and the transport links already built in.

    Option 2. A reduced rate but the new owners must retain and maintain the athletic track for 20 years and allow the use of the stadium for other sports events than football where they fit in a clubs normal schedule.

    Re : another lie from Tony Blair. I think if you look back you will find the original aim for many of the facilities and much of the equipment for the Olympics was for them to be moved to new locations around the country so benefiting more people. Unfortunately the usual suspects at the time decided to kick up a stink and not look at the long term benefits forcing a change of the plans. The result was many of these facilities are now not suitable for relocation.

    IMHO these recent problems are more to do with new "thinking" at the OPLC since May.

  • Comment number 36.

    I think that even the suggestion that the Olympic stadium be torn down and replaced absolutely disgusting. People forget the context of it. How ridiculous is going to look when London has an Olympic park, but no Olympic stadium. I love football, but this simply isn't right.

    When Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992, did Barcelona FC ask to have the stadium thereafter? No, and they're a far more illustrious club than either of the two bidding for the site.

    Tourists will visit the Olympic park and say, I wonder where the Stadium went? It's laughable.

  • Comment number 37.

    Any bid that the UK made promising a athletics legacy at the OS was a load of old tosh. No offensive to athletic fans but no way on earth are you going to get 60,000+ spectators at the OS for run of the mill grand prix or UK althetic fixtures. Diack's comments are pie in the sky, and it's about time we stopped trying to placate such people from the Olympic's or FIFA for that matter. These sports are "run" by people who have no idea of the real world.
    Assuming we try to avoid going down the path of having the OS as yet another complete waste of tax payers money it has to be used as a viable self income generating venue for something other than athletics.. Football, as the biggest sport in this country is the only answer. The current short sighted design of the OS does not lend itself to a football stadium with a running track keeping spectators too far away from the action or a suitable pitch which could lend itself to alternative venues such as cricket test or T20 matches.
    Whilst the arguements around whether Tottenham or West Ham should have the stadium go on (I am a Tottenham fan and aren't fussed either way), I would be really p****d off if I lived in London and had been paying a suppliment on my council tax for the last x number of years for an OS that will be a delerict shell 6 months after the games if we insist on trying to live up to leagacy promises that are unrealistic.
    And on a final note, Newham Council will be putting in circa 40 million with WH if their bid is successful as a joint sponser. Not much in the way of details on this on the Newham Council web site. Other web sites show the Newham Mayor enjoys a close relationship with WH and has enjoyed numerous hospitality perks from them. Assuming WH win the bid and then default on their ability to repay any debts/charges would this mean Newham Council will then become liable? Glad I don't pay council tax in Newham

  • Comment number 38.

    In response to #16 , I don't know any Spurs fan that wants to move to Stratford and it is almost certainly the financial imperative and whats best for the current owners of the club rather than whats best for the club itself that is driving the Board's push for the Olympic Stadium.

    On the comments made I find it a bit rich for anyone connected to the IOC or International Athletics in general to start adopting the high moral line given the corruption that is endemic within athletics. However, I would much rather comments of this sort are heeded by those taking the decision next Friday as it will mean that West Ham will be announced as the preferred bidder. Of course that would not be the end of it but it might be sufficient for Spurs to return to what was the original plan, The Northumberland Development Plan.

    Tottenham Hotspur were founded in Tottenham , have always played their home games in Tottenham and should stay in Tottenham.

  • Comment number 39.

    I agree with the statement above that we are living in a new era now. Things have changed and in order to stop the taxpayer being given yet another huge and ongoing bill, we should look to get the best value from it we can. If that is football, then so be it. Hey if Torvil and Dean said they had 500million to put an ice skating rink in there over the grass the great, but they havent. Nor has anyone else.

    However that is not to say we cannot leave an athletics legacy which would be the envy of the world. Whether it be east of south London is just semantics - its still London and something I have paid into being a Londoner. What we MUST do is look carefully at the options from both Spurs and West Ham. If Spurs are going to invest in atheltics (and therefore leave the legacy detailed in the bid) then fine but we need them to GUARANTEE exactly what they will do for Crystal Palace and when, not some half hearted pay off. Detailed plans need to be put down with a timeline, which will then promote CP to the great venue it once was. All too often in the past has big business promised great things to get what it wants, but years later never delivered on it promises.

    We can please all parties here. Just not the bloke from Monaco...

  • Comment number 40.

    I originally thought that West Ham should be given the stadium but after reading this blog I now think Tottenham should get it. Yes, it isn't in Tottenham but spurs fans are you really going to be angry about a stadium that isn't in your area when your council are refusing to even discuss the idea of a new stadium in Tottenham. Tottenham would also be a more stable financial option as West Ham could and probably will get relegated. Also, who cares about broken promises damaging Britain credibility when it won't make a difference considering we're not going to be bidding for any more tournaments in the near future. With Tottenham getting the stadium there will be a hint of Olympic legacy in the much needed refurbishment of the crystal place atheltics centre for those who believe that the Olympic Legacy is major thing.

    Finally what actually are all these people going to do about the decision? The IOC have already said they won't interfere so I'm pretty certain that IAAF won't get involved either!

    I honestly can't wait so see my money be put to great use for the future!

  • Comment number 41.

    lillywhite, before you come back at me I was born and bred in Tottenham and spent many a happy Saturdays at the Lane as a nipper.
    I would love to see Tottenham stay at the lane but as i understand things Harringey Council have been difficult with the re-developement. Spurs need a bigger ground and if it can't be at the lane I would rather it was in London and we didn't get a MK Dons - Wimbledon fiasco

  • Comment number 42.

    look people are interested in athletics every four years.over 500,000 people pay to watch football every week its the national sport people care about it.im sorry but i cant get excited about watching a load of junkies run round in a circle.the winners always the one with the best chemist.the only way this stadium will not be a bigger burden on the taxpayer is for it to be taken over by a football club.im a west ham fan so i hope spurs bid is successful

  • Comment number 43.

    @ #26

    Are you suggesting West Ham and Barcelona are different because West Ham want to steal a stadium? Did Barcelona not already have the Nou Camp since the 1950s?

    Also no Spurs fans want to leave, but I'm not going to object to an extra 4,000 seats, much better transport links, £200m extra for the club to spend...

    And FINALLY, to the idiots suggesting either of these clubs gets a "free stadium", the figures are about £250m. This stadium is a landfill.

  • Comment number 44.

    *@36

  • Comment number 45.

    Britians Credability ? Just look at Eurovision and the Recent Fifa World Cup Bid we lost credability a long long long time ago. These comments are nothing new to what we have already heard before, tbh the words that bring to mind is "who really cares?" why are we so worried about what others think of us, we lost the ability to rebuild the British image a long time ago, as far as we should be concerned, us the British public who are paying for this Olympics should decide what happens to the stadium not what someone else thinks.

  • Comment number 46.

    Who cares what this gentleman says? We are paying for it - the economic outlook has changed - I bet even the IAAF have had to rebudget due to recent financial issues so why shouldn't Britain? We have also had a change of government from the one who would have said anything to make political capital out of the Olympics and already look pretty discredited. So we need not feel any guilt. However if the IAAF wants to play the integrity card perhaps we can introduce them to FIFA - an organisation who don't even listen to what is pitched to them and totally misleads bidders.

  • Comment number 47.

    After getting stitched-up by FIFA with the world cup bid why should we worry about what the jumped-up suits of the IOC will say about us if we renege on the athletics legacy promise of the stadium.

    After all this is an organisation that awards the games to a country with the most appalling human rights record. They sat back and watch that country force people out of their homes to make way for their olympic facilities.

    If the decision on what to do with the stadium is based on usage and financial viability then surely that honours the promise around the games legacy.

  • Comment number 48.

    Would UK Athletics want to keep the stadium for themselves if they had to maintain it and have athletics use it "at it's core"? Could they make it viable? I'd wonder if athletics has that sort of support.
    If not then the OPLC need to find someone who will take the stadium off their hands, and quick, before the thing starts costing us even more money, a la Millennium Dome.
    I suggest gifting it to Newham Council and offering West Ham and Tottenham a ground share option. WHU to gift their stadium to the council, if they own the site.



  • Comment number 49.

    Olympic Stadium Usage since 1984

    Los Angeles - Used existing stadium - now primarily used for USC Trojans American Football

    Seoul - Home stadium for Seoul United

    Barcelona - Existing stadium reused - Used as home stadium for Espanyol until 2009, used again for Athletics in 2010

    Atlanta - Demolished to make way for Atlanta Braves Baseball field

    Sydney - Used for Rugby League, Aussie rules and Cricket

    Athens - Existing Stadium remodelled - used for Champions League final in 2007 and pop concerts

    Beijing - Unused to be demolished to make way for a shopping and hotel development.


    Lamine Diack's right, we must preserve the Olympics athletics legacy.

  • Comment number 50.

    #14 The reason there have been so many drugs scandals in athletics, is because athletics takes clean competition very seriously, and more so, it has the best drug testing programme in the world out of the majority of major sports. If other sports were to to test as much as athletics did, then I think you would find an increase in the number of positive drugs tests that showed up.

    Once again, I find it ridiculous to consider the track being removed following the Olympics, if we are to host the IAAF World Championships, which we were supposed to do in 2005 (pulled out because of funding issues) also we were bidding for the 2015 world champs, but had to pull out because of the uncertainty surrounding the track usage, and now we are in the bidding process for the 2017 world champs, which would be a great coup for British Sport, especially as English football was unable to bring the FIFA World Cup to England. We need to have the stadiums to support these bids and with the Olympic Stadium, there is a real chance of creating and maintaining a fantastic legacy.

    As someone who has been inside the stadium, it feels like where ever you are sat your are going to be near the action, this will be the same for the football. But I guess it comes down to who has the better bid in the eyes of the selectors, it reminds me of 2005 all over again!

  • Comment number 51.

    Further to my point what's with the big concern about how this affects the sport of athletics? Football is an olympic sport as well so why shouldn't the stadium legacy involve football?

  • Comment number 52.

    All right then, just leave the stadium as it is and hold 60,000+ gigs and other events in it 4 or more times a month. Surely that will pay the rent? Then once in a blue, green, tangerine moon there can be an athletics competition big enough to attract more than 15,000.

    OK there is the small problem of the O2 being just down the road...
    in which case pull it down and build a football stadium there. Or housing. Or swedish furniture store.

    I wouldn't worry about Britain's credibility being dead. This is already an embarrassment. And to think the press in this country ripped the pee out of India in the run up to the Commonweath games.
    I'd love to hear the planning committee behind this farago explain the thought process behind the whole thing.

  • Comment number 53.

    @#37 - the plan was not to have a 60,000-capacity athletics venue, but 25,000 capacity (which is about right for a year-on-year national athletics venue - Grand Prix, European Champs, National Champs etc.

    @#47 - good point, but sadly, no, the bid was not based on 'usage and financial viability' - the bid was based on winning votes from people like Diack (and the international athletics/Olympic community) hence the prioritisation of athletics, as opposed to football.

  • Comment number 54.

    Oh so now it's Britain is it? We don't want your bloody Olympics here in Scotland, no benefit to us but a major tax drain. A sentiment likely shared by many Northern English people too...

  • Comment number 55.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but GB hasn't hosted for 52 years. So what is this guy actually saying? Are we to be barred for another 52 years for trying to mitigate the enormous expense of this event. Or maybe we haven't paid this man or his family the going rate to keep everybody smiling and happy.

    What does "legacy" actually mean and so what if we take up the running track. We have and will be contributing more than our fair share in the future.

    Economics of recent times is such that I cannot see more than a handfull of nations being able to host or afford such an event in the future.

    I would be grateful to those prepared to host rather than to threaten them with nonsense.

  • Comment number 56.

    london is lucky atleast the city gets olympic projects.northern irelands have all been cancelled

  • Comment number 57.

    Sorry but who is this guy? We won the right to stage the olympics in our country. So as it is our stadium what has it got to do with anyone else what we do with it? As said earlier it is our money that is paying for it.

  • Comment number 58.

    As the first poster said, Spurs are just using this as a way of strong-arming Tottenham council into paying for more of their new stadium. They've spent years and millions trying to get permission and agreement, then suddenly, a few weeks after getting it, they decide they might not do it after all? Rubbish. Pure bluffery.

    Ignoring that, Spurs are one of the richest football clubs in the world, why should they get a publically funded stadium? Personally I'm not delighted that any football club is being handed it, but to give it to Spurs would be extraordinary.

  • Comment number 59.

    There are plenty of running tracks around. There's one five minutes from my house.

    Why should there be one in a football stadium?
    Don't really know about the finer points of this issue but here are some random observations:

    1. Spurs offer the re-develop existing athletics facility seems fair
    2. Spurs are from North London, not Stratford.
    3. West Ham shouldn't be looking to expand with their club in such a mess
    4. VERY few people give a flying fig about athletics in this country (and that's no surprise)
    5. It seems very wasteful to knock down a newly buit stadium and build another one.

    On reflection, this whole issue is a complete and utter mess. Can't see any satisfactory outcome.

    Game abandoned due to excess idiocy!

  • Comment number 60.

    Thanks @53 for your correction. So the plan was to use the OS as a 25,000 stadium once a year for major athletic events. Who pays the rent for the other 50 weeks in the year when it is not hosting the major once a year 25,000 spectator athletic events?

  • Comment number 61.

    This blog makes me sad.

    The sight of people justifying broken promises on the altar of "things have changed" is sickening. The promise hasn't changed at all just the will to honour it.

    "Olympic Stadium - conversion to a 25,000 seat multi-purpose venue with athletics at its core."

    Is definitive and inarguable.

  • Comment number 62.

    Some interesting views...some outrage over the public finance over this stadium, but, is it not also true that Manchester Citys home was financed by public money, and redevelopment at most football grounds is generally supported by a loan by a trust, whose name I forget, but that is also public money?

    Interesting that, a lot of people saying a running track is "too far away" - I have to disagree, sure its a little further away but a running track is really not THAT big and there are a lot of grounds you sit far away from the action anyway - its not ideal sure but Id rather this then sitting behind a post.

    Also interesting that people are blaming Blair - the guy hasnt been in power for 3 years - hes not in charge of this decision - you might aswell blame Avram Grant!

    I think the arrogance of football is really showing through, we were moaning about money and integrity of FIFA at the world cup bid, yet here we are, right up for grabs for our Olympic Stadium with people saying "sell it to the highest bidder".

    Athletics needs a world class venue in order to grow in this country, the fact it might hold one golden league or whatever its called event a year infront of 20,000 - well so what. If the rest of the year West Ham get 40-50k in every other week then whats the issue? Whoever gets this stadium should know that is part of the requirement. I mean, it would be great for one of my kids to potentially be able to race at THE Olympic Stadium, sure, it will be remodelled, but to turn it into just a football stadium....

    Who cares what the rest of the world thinks? I agree, who cares? But I do care about this legacy and to rip it up just because Spurs offer more would be a crying shame. It might lose money - maybe - but something honour, integrity and history are worth more then money?

  • Comment number 63.

    I too find it offensive that a stadium built for the public be effectively given away to a football club. London should have a proper athletics venue, Manchester does. Also the stadium doesn't just have to hold large events and meets. It can be used for training, local events,schoools to visit and use. You won't get that with a football ground.

    We can actually use it, rather than having to pay £50 to go and watch some over paid footballers use it. And we can encourage athletics, something which our country in recent decades has declined in.

  • Comment number 64.

    At the end of the day it's all about money, and most of it taxpayers money. If the best offer for the stadium comes from football, (where let's face it most of the interest is), then so be it.

  • Comment number 65.

    They could improve the popularity of olympic sports by introducing a football into each discipline.

    100m dribble
    100m hurdles
    Floorwork freestyle (Just give Gold to Brazil)
    Cross country dribbling
    Some kind of shot-put involving a football
    Aiming javelins at a football
    Olympic penalty taking (we'd get KO'd in the first round)
    Swimming while balancing a football on your head/bum/belly


    That's the only way that athletics will ever grow in popularity.

    Why watch someone run when you can watch athletes run, jump, dribble, pass, tackle, leap and pass on a football pitch.

    Sorry, athletics just isn't viable.

  • Comment number 66.

    A football team can have the stadium if they want it, but keep the damn track, it's what it was built for.

  • Comment number 67.

    you're all hypocrits.

    so it is ok for us to go back on our promises and turn this athletics stadium into a football stadium, but when Qatar got the bid for the World Cup we were up in arms about them building and possibly removing half the stadia once its finished and done with.

  • Comment number 68.

    @60 The plan was not for the stadium to just host a grand prix athletics event once a year. It was hoped that it would have heavy community usage at other times of the year. Plus, it could host national championships/school competitions and so on; whilst organisations such as UK Sport could also have based their offices there.

    I accept that athletics is no longer suitable to be a sole-user of the Olympic Stadium, but it seems crazy that the track could just be ripped up once the Olympics has left town.

    It's about time that athletics has a stadium in this country fit to host World Championships, European championships etc. Football should not be allowed to just barge their way in with no regard for other sports just becuase they have the financial muscle to do so.

  • Comment number 69.

    If they promised it then yes, they were wrong. That doesn't mean that we have to go through with it.

    Why should the people pay for the stupidity of a few?

    China would never care about any of this. They do what they have to do and it's getting them where they want to be.

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm fed up to my back teeth of sanctamonious athletics bores going on about legacy.

    As a sport they are already more than well catered for in the UK with decent tracks dotted all round the country and plenty of lottery and sports council funding ready to prop up athletes who either make a good living o the circuit already or are simply not good enough to do so.

    Athletics will get its legacy one way or another, either with the track staying (West Ham) or with upgrades to Crystal Palace (Spurs). Many other sports though will not see a jot. Shooting for example gets nothing, in fact they are wasting £40m on setting up a facility only to bin it straight away. In all liklyhood the only shooters in the UK who ever get to fire on a world class facility in the UK will be those at the olympics.

  • Comment number 71.

    Why was it never even considered that we build a stadium with movable seating, much like the Stade de France, where the lower tier of the stands can be rolled across a running track? This would have ensured our "promise" was never in jeopardy. Is it too late to consider this should either Spurs or West Ham succeed with their bids?
    ----------

    It was, the Athletics lot, lead by "Lord" Coe said it wasn't good enough.

  • Comment number 72.

    If British Athletics want a stadium they can pay for it. A small athletics stadium with a running track was built near me 10 years ago.It is now disused and overgrown. None of the various bodies could agree who should be in charge, and they all wanted subsidies to run it. This will happen on a grand scale after the Olympics.
    The Olympic legacy will be the same as usual. Massive debts and deserted, rotting bildings.

  • Comment number 73.

    36. At 7:05pm on 20 Jan 2011, JBalla wrote:
    I think that even the suggestion that the Olympic stadium be torn down and replaced absolutely disgusting. People forget the context of it. How ridiculous is going to look when London has an Olympic park, but no Olympic stadium. I love football, but this simply isn't right.

    When Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992, did Barcelona FC ask to have the stadium thereafter? No, and they're a far more illustrious club than either of the two bidding for the site.
    -------------------

    JBella you are an idiot. YES! The Barcelona 92 Olympic stadium was taken over by....

    wait for it...

    A FOOTBALL CLUB!!!!

    RCD Espanyol to be precise, a club not only far less illustriuos than FC Barcelona but arguably less than Spurs and West Ham as well, certainly based on history. Try doing your homework before opening your gob next time.

  • Comment number 74.

    I too find it offensive that a stadium built for the public be effectively given away to a football club.
    -------------

    £250m to buy the stadium plus however much it costs to renovate and/or put another facility in place is hardly giving it away. Especially as the plans if they dont sell it involve over £100m to reduce the capacity. It would be almost as cheap for either club to build one from scratch.

  • Comment number 75.

    67. At 8:38pm on 20 Jan 2011, Kang Dae Sung wrote:
    you're all hypocrits.

    so it is ok for us to go back on our promises and turn this athletics stadium into a football stadium, but when Qatar got the bid for the World Cup we were up in arms about them building and possibly removing half the stadia once its finished and done with.
    --------------
    Speak for yourself. I was perfectly happy with the plan to transport the stadiums after the games.

  • Comment number 76.

    68. At 8:42pm on 20 Jan 2011, t_read wrote:
    @60 The plan was not for the stadium to just host a grand prix athletics event once a year. It was hoped that it would have heavy community usage at other times of the year. Plus, it could host national championships/school competitions and so on; whilst organisations such as UK Sport could also have based their offices there.
    --------------

    Community usage? Don't make me laugh, they are not going to let the local plebs into their nice shiny stadium to run around a track and even if they were who would pay for it?

  • Comment number 77.

    hahahahaha....now we see our real UK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 78.

    We should`nt even be having this debate....This uber expensive farce should have been dumped in the lap of the French for them to waste their billions on...After its fortnights use for the olympics, flog it off to whichever mug will pay top dollar.....Job Done!!!!!

  • Comment number 79.

    The whole thing is turning out to be ridiculous, and I'm very embarrassed for the people involved.
    Can't remember the name of the poster but im not surprised either that we didn't get the World Cup.

    We say one thing and do another, and I don't want a PL team taking advantage of such stupidity, especially when so much taxpayers money has been spent.

    Apologies for the negativity, I actually do hope that 2012 is a success, and I look forward to welcoming all those visiting.



  • Comment number 80.

    All this talk of what to do with the stadium after the Olympics is bizarre! Surely someone must have given some detailed thought to it when preparing the bid, so the question should never arise...

    Secondly, why was the existing stadium at Crystal Palace not simply modernised? Would that not have been cheaper? What is it used for now (if it's used aat all)?

    I'm lost for words.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    Whilst mindful of the cost implications of maintaining an athletics track after the Olympics these factors would have been known when the UK bid team set out its proposals for hosting the Olympics. I was not in favour of the UK bidding to host the Olympics as most recent games have become too costly, but if the prime facility is to be no longer available as a legacy for the future why did we bother bidding to host the event in the first place, better that the games went to a more deserving country that would appreciate such facilities.(something international governing bodies will no doubt bear in mind if the UK bid to host any other prestigious events).
    What I fear is a dishonest fix, where the public are told that the track will remain, but those taking it over are given a nod and wink that it can be removed in a year or so

  • Comment number 83.

    Hmm...
    World Cup hosting is given to Russia as Committee members renege on their promises to us. They are widely regarded as corrupt, contemptible, why should we have deigned to take part in their bidding competition, widespread calls for investigation of FIFA and for them to "clean up their act". An approach widely reflected in these message boards!!
    Couple of months later and Spurs have the chance of a nice new cut price stadium, which would have been under-used in the previous plans! The boot's on the other foot now, isn't it!?
    'Our reputation is in tatters on the world stage already. Upsetting the IAAF now won't matter a jot' 'How do [IAAF] expect to keep [the stadium] running' [which we promised them we'd do, presumably during recession as well and West Ham's bid is still offering to keep the track...]'I dont see the problem? so what if the bid team lied about the stadium?' 'Tessa Jowell and her cronies can say whatever they like , I don't want to be financing some massive white elephant just so they look good!'
    Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

  • Comment number 84.

    Yet more anti-English propaganda from the outside world.

    You know you're a success when you have so many ignorant and bitter haters.

    :)

  • Comment number 85.

    Why does there have to be an athletics stadium in London... there are other cities in the UK, or more exactly in Scotland that could host a world championship should we really want to try and bid for one.

    Murrayfield rugby stadium has an athletics track which could easily be upgraded and Glasgow is turning Hampden Park into an athletics venue for the Commonwealth Games in 2014 - its temporary, so if they can do it there, it could be done in any major stadium. Say Wembley or the Millenium Stadium - their already converted into Monster Truck venues so why not athletics?!

    http://www.glasgow2014.com/the_games/athletes_village_and_venues/venues/hampden_park.aspx

    So UK Athletics or whoever, its not the end of the world if the Olympic venue discards its athletics track.

  • Comment number 86.

    If any football team is to take over the stadium, it should be Leyton Orient, not West Ham, and certainly not Tottenham. They are, afterall, the club closest to the stadium, and have the most to lose by having a Premiership club move in next door (it'd be a bit like Chelsea deciding to move to Crawley) and have the most to gain by having a 25,000 seater stadium to move into. Sure, there would be the problem of the Atheltics track, and the fact but they'll have nice new faclities to play in, and since they are a small club (apologies to Orient fans), they wont mind sharing it with UKA, Essex CC and Newham discrict council as much as a Premiership team would do. For a club of their size, 25,000 would be right on the money - ok, maybe slightly too big at first, but it could really help the club to grow to fill it.

    So say 9-13,000 every other weekend, during the week a national atheltics training centre (boy do we need one), evenings and weekends when football and cricket isn't on used by local running groups from ages 6-60+ (how awesome and exciting would that be for the locals, to train and compete at the Olympic stadium) and 20-25,000 3 times a year for major golden league and national atheltics competitions. Simples.

    Failing that, West Ham would be ok, Tottenham, a complete no-no.

    That said, those suggesting these games are a massive mess up are right off the mark - sure what to do with some of the venues AFTER the games is up in the air and the buget has exploded ( both of which was always going to be the case), but so far, everything else in the lead up the games is going according to plan - venues are being built on time, we're ahead of where Athens were at the same stage, and probably ahead of where Dehli was two weeks before the Commonwealths opened. Trouble is, the games that followed Bejing were always going to look poor in every aspect. Which isn't surprising, when you consider the wages in China are about 1% of ours and they don't have the work legislation and workers (or indeed human) rights that we have. If people wanted us to have games as good as Bejing, they should all have voted Communist.

  • Comment number 87.

    If economics prevails Tottenham should get it.

    But I agree with the view that you can't put a price on keeping the olympic track and stadium in place for future generations to compete and train on. It would leave a long standing legacy for UK athletics. Tottenham and football have plenty of other options.

    UK athletics needs this. I sincerely hope they find a way to keep the stadium purely for its original purpose.

  • Comment number 88.

    Who is this guy and who cares what he thinks

  • Comment number 89.

    At the risk of repeating the general consensus:

    The bid was made before the economic crash, so get real!

    Yes, it would be good for athletics to have this new venue but, speaking as someone involved directly in athletics in the North of England -- you know, one of those districts at the outer edges of the country of London -- it won't have the major affect on UK athletics that some might suppose.

    I don't much care which football team get's residency in the stadium, because they are the only viable economic solution in the present (and forseeable) economic climate.

    Finally, as has already been pointed out, we aren't likely to be a realistic candidate host for the olympics for at least another 60 years, so who cares what this guy says about 'the present generation' (ie himself).

  • Comment number 90.

    If West Ham are prepared to play on a ground that has an athletics track then good luck to them.

    It's good enough for Lazio and Roma, their home matches don't seem to lack for atmosphere and I'm sure West Ham fans would manage it too.

    And if the West Ham owners have any commercial sense (and they do) they'll follow the Bundasliga business model i.e. keep prices low, fill the stadium and develop a huge fan base that buys club related product in profitable amounts both on match day and at other times.

  • Comment number 91.

    Athletics has been let down again and again by the government of this country. The big athletics events that are staged in this country, sell out. It is also possible to get more people at grassroots athletics events. We routinely have 200 in the evening session at the track I coach at for training - this suggests a lack of resources and opportunity, rather than lack of interest. Football is crammed down everyone's throats. If we make a promise we should stick to it - we have already broken promises to athletics, now we are doing it again. This government should be ashamed of itself, but since this is only one more broken promise, I don't suppose they will be...

  • Comment number 92.

    'Athletics has been let down again and again by the government of this country. The big athletics events that are staged in this country, sell out.'

    Sure the one or two big events sell out... of like 8000 seats. What is the point of having a 60000 seat venue empty for the next decade, withall costs involved of keeping it running, for one major championships that may or may not happen?! Having say a grand prix event in the limited time period of the British summer gives is pointless as it won't sell-out the stadium nor justify keeping it running just as an athletics venue. You already have Gateshead, Crystal Palace and Don Valley to host a grand prix event.

    Its not a sell-out, it just common sense. We don't need a white elephant.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    Or, should I say, the UK today.

  • Comment number 95.

    why don't they have a removable pitch . it only needs to be the outer part . the millenium stadium manages it. and all the pitch can be moved down there . cover the track on match days and take off the outside bit's when there's a track avant .

  • Comment number 96.

    I am very proud to be British thank you.

    Actually I am even more proud that the government(s)that have been in charge since the Olympics was awarded have been sensible with the Olympic legacy. Its a well known fact that most Olympic venues barely get used post games so good on them for actually trying to do something about it instead of having an empty stadium that stands idle like in the majority of other cities that have hosted the summer games in recent decades.

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    Murrayfield rugby stadium has an athletics track which could easily be upgraded and Glasgow is turning Hampden Park into an athletics venue for the Commonwealth Games in 2014 - its temporary, so if they can do it there, it could be done in any major stadium. Say Wembley or the Millenium Stadium - their already converted into Monster Truck venues so why not athletics?!
    ---------------------
    They aren't big enough mate. A 400m track is a set size, you can't shrink it down if the stands are too close together.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    Athletics has been let down again and again by the government of this country. The big athletics events that are staged in this country, sell out. It is also possible to get more people at grassroots athletics events. We routinely have 200 in the evening session at the track I coach at for training - this suggests a lack of resources and opportunity, rather than lack of interest. Football is crammed down everyone's throats.
    ----------

    Blah blah blah blah. 200 people, good for you, most football clubs get similar numbers when you count all the age groups up despite most towns having multiple clubs at all kinds of levels.

    Athletics is actually rammed down most peoples throats via school PE sessions, everyone who might ever want the chance to try it can do so, football is actually more elite in that sense.

    Face it, if there was a demand for athletics clubs then clubs would appear, the level you have is the level there should be. Could they be better equipped, yes of course and selling off the stadium could help achieve that, having UKA pay for it properly would bankrupt the sport.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.