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Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 15:53 GMT
Caborn defuses 2012 stadium row
Richard Caborn and Tessa Jowell
Caborn have not always agreed on the future use of the Olympic venue
Sports Minister Richard Caborn has denied he is in dispute with his government colleagues over the long-term use of the Olympic Stadium.

He had been reported to be hoping for a football team to move in after 2012.

But on Sunday Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said this idea was a non-starter and claimed Caborn had been misquoted.

Caborn was back on message on Monday, saying: "We have given a promise which we will honour - the core of the stadium will be athletics."

Speaking to BBC Sport, Caborn said the government's position was "very clear" and "not negotiable".

Last month, however, Caborn had been quoted as saying that West Ham were in "very serious negotiations" with Olympic authorities about moving into the 2012 stadium in Stratford.

The Hammers have been linked with a move to the state-of-the-art venue although London rivals Spurs have already ruled out any interest in moving to the stadium.

There is no offer on the table, nor is there one from rugby or any other sport, but we would look at anybody who came along in the future

Sports Minister Richard Caborn
Caborn is believed to have been keen for a London football team to do what Manchester City did when they moved into the Commonwealth Games stadium in 2002.

This, however, ran contrary to most of what London 2012 chairman Lord Coe, Jowell and London Mayor Ken Livingstone have been saying - namely, the 80,000-seat stadium will scaled down to 25,000 seats after the Games and reserved for athletics.

Caborn's most recent comments, however, bring him back into line with statements made by Jowell and Coe over the weekend.

Speaking to BBC Five Live on Sunday, Coe said any club interested in taking over the stadium would have to stump up 100m and agree to keeping the running track around the pitch.

"At the current moment, none of the clubs taking a look at this are remotely in the same ball park," said Coe.

He said that approaches from inside and outside sport would be considered but the commitment to an athletics legacy was paramount.

Coe's comments followed those made by Jowell, who said she had met West Ham chairman Terence Brown and managing director Paul Aldridge in the summer to discuss a possible move.

At that meeting she told them about the 100m price tag and stressed that they would have to keep the running track and meet the cost of building a dual-use stadium.

Jowell told The Sunday Telegraph: "They said they would obviously not be interested on that basis."

Jowell also said that Caborn had been misquoted and added that a dual-purpose stadium had been ruled out because of the expense.

"Not only are we bound by what we were told by the IOC but we are bound by a belief in the importance of there being an athletics legacy," said Jowell.

Work has already started on the 2012 stadium in Stratford
Work has already started on the 2012 stadium in Stratford
"So football was really knocked out at that point."

But she admitted that there had been a difference of opinion between her and Caborn on the subject of how the stadium would be used after the Games.

"Have we had a different view about this? Yes, I think it is fair to say that Dick was keener on a football legacy than I was, but the idea that we have fallen out is just not true," she said.

Caborn, however, still does not seem to be singing from exactly the same hymn sheet as Jowell, as he appears to remain open-minded about the prospect of an approach from a football team.

"We are looking to see if there are any others who can come in," he told BBC Sport.

"There are a lot of people that want to use the stadium like that.

"(The idea of a football club moving in) is dead in the water until someone wants to come in and revive that.

"There is no offer on the table, nor is there one from rugby or any other sport, but we would look at anybody who came along in the future."



SEE ALSO
West Ham in talks on 2012 stadium
20 Oct 06 |  West Ham Utd
Spurs rule out 2012 stadium move
16 Oct 06 |  Tottenham Hotspur
2012 stadium could house Hammers
20 Apr 06 |  Olympics 2012
Mayor makes Olympic Stadium vow
28 Mar 06 |  Olympics 2012
Hammers handed Olympic blow
06 Oct 04 |  Olympics 2012
Hammers keen on Olympic move
16 Jan 04 |  West Ham Utd
Focus on London's Olympic plans
06 Jun 05 |  London Guide


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