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IAAF spokesman Georgio Renieri
"This is bad news for UK athletics"
 real 14k

BBC Sport's Adam Parsons
"The collapse of this project may have further ramifications"
 real 56k

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell
"Due to cost and deliverability the Picketts Lock project will not proceed"
 real 14k

Sports minister Richard Caborn
"The cost wasnt a good investment for British sport"
 real 56k

Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Picketts Lock bid scrapped
Picketts Lock plans
The plans for a 100m stadium have been scrapped
The British Government has abandoned plans to stage the 2005 World Athletics Championships at Picketts Lock.

It has decided that the project to develop a 43,000-seater stadium at the north London site would have cost too much money.

The government now wants to stage the event in Sheffield although the world athletics body, the IAAF, says the British bid was dependent on the championships being held in London.

Ministers will meet with the IAAF president on Friday to try to persuade him to allow the event to be moved to Sheffield.

If the IAAF will accept our alternative here, we will give them a first-class games in first-class surroundings
Sports Minister Richard Caborn

An IAAF spokesman said on Thursday that the bidding would have to be re-opened but that if Sheffield were to enter, its proposal would be considered.

However, the credibility of any British bid may now be too badly damaged and it appears likely that the 2005 championships will not be held anywhere in the UK.

The decision to scrap the Picketts Lock project follows a review by troubleshooter Patrick Carter which identified the original 87m scheme would actually cost significantly more.

Sports Minister Richard Caborn and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell came to the conclusion after lengthy discussions with UK Athletics.

"It would have cost almost a quarter of a billion pounds to stage it at Picketts Lock and we could not justify that," said Caborn.

"It's an awful lot of tennis rackets, an awful lot of sports coaches and an awful lot of football pitches."

Sports minister Richard Caborn
Caborn ditched plans after talks with UK Athletics

The outcome is a huge embarrassment for the government, which had promised to bring the championships to the UK in its election manifesto.

The failure to go ahead with the London championships is the first time in the modern sporting era that a major economic power has failed to meet a promise to hold a major sports event.

It is also a big blow for British hopes of staging the 2012 Olympics.

The IAAF is not due to make any decision on the venue until its 27-man council meets in November.

Caborn, Jowell, Carter and UK Athletics chief executive David Moorcroft will meet IAAF president Lamine Diack on Friday to try to persuade him to accept the new plan.

However, the IAAF has previously said that if the Picketts Lock project did fall through, it would not allow UK Athletics to simply change the venue to another city.

"The championships were awarded to London and to change the city is impossible." said IAAF spokesman Giorgio Reineri.

"Like the Olympics, if you change the city you change everything."

The government wants to hold the event at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield.

The venue, built in 1990 and host of the World Student Games in 1991, currently seats 25,000 so would need extending.

See also:

03 Jul 01 |  Athletics
New doubts over athletics stadium
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