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Page last updated at 19:25 GMT, Friday, 11 February 2011

West Ham stadium success gives Crystal Palace hope


Stratford decision 'pivotal' to Palace stadium plans

Crystal Palace's hopes of moving to the National Sports Centre have improved after West Ham were voted as preferred bidders for the Olympic Stadium.

UK Athletics had backed Palace's plans to leave their Selhurst Park home but only if both the NSC and the Olympic Stadium retained their running tracks.

West Ham's successful bid included the retention of the athletics track, meaning both provisions can now be met.

A rival bid from Tottenham Hotspur involved removing the track.

Spurs' plan to build a football-only stadium on the site of the main venue for the 2012 Olympics in east London had caused controversy as an athletics legacy was part of the capital's successful bid to host the Games.

To fulfil that obligation, their plan involved refurbishing the NSC as a 25,000-capacity athletics venue instead.

However, Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) executives unanimously chose the Hammers bid on Friday as it was judged to provide the best legacy.

We want to make the NSC a centre of excellence for all athletes

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish

Palace chairman Steve Parish had expressed his preference for a football-only stadium at the NSC back in January, but his stance appears to have softened with the news of West Ham's successful bid.

That would make the Olympic Stadium at Stratford the primary athletics venue, allowing the NSC to downsize its offering and not have a running track within its new stadium structure.

"The aim is a 40,000-seater stadium and to try and give something to the community, so we want to make the NSC a centre of excellence for all athletes," Parish told BBC London.

"What UK Athletics would like, and what we're very open to, is a new athletics track that will sit somewhere behind the NSC itself with a very small grandstand to host regional athletics events.

"There will be a whole host of sports that will be supported in that environment for the region, so the football stadium will be as well as, not instead of (athletics facilities)."

The NSC in Crystal Palace Park is currently a 15,000-seat athletics stadium and hosts the annual London Grand Prix meeting, but it is in need of major refurbishment work.

Palace were taken over by new owners CPFC2010 last June, when the possibility of relocating from Selhurst Park was first raised.

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see also
Palace unveil new stadium plans
20 Jan 11 |  Crystal Palace
New life at the Palace
17 Jan 11 |  Crystal Palace
Track uncertainty angers UK chief
14 Jan 11 |  Olympics
Fredericks wants 2012 track kept
14 Jan 11 |  London 2012
Spurs 'to dismantle 2012 stadium'
12 Jan 11 |  London
Athletes want stadium legacy met
14 Dec 10 |  London 2012
Olympic stadium 'must keep track'
07 Oct 10 |  London 2012

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