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West Ham's Olympic stadium plan angers Kelly Sotherton

Kelly Sotherton and West Ham United
Sotherton says handing the stadium to West Ham would be "out of order"

Olympic and world heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton has hit out at West Ham's plans to take over the Olympic stadium after the 2012 Games.

New Hammers owners David Sullivan and David Gold want to leave Upton Park and lease the newly built stadium in nearby Stratford as the club's new home.

However, Sotherton insists the stadium should remain an athletics venue.

"The legacy should be athletics. It's out of order that football think they can just come and have it," she said.

"We don't have a national athletics stadium and we need one. We lost our last big stadium to Manchester City in 2002 after a great Commonwealth Games and the fear is now that we'll lose another one to football.

"I'm a massive fan of football and a big Arsenal fan, but at the end of the day it's our stadium and I think the legacy is to enable us to stage future world and commonwealth championships - who knows, maybe another Olympics.

"To have an Olympic stadium turned into a football stadium by a club struggling near the foot of the Premier League, it's out of order."

Adam Z Lucifer

West Ham's plans have already met opposition from outside the world of football, with Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone and UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner among those speaking out against the move.

One of the arguments is that London would not have won the 2012 Games had the Olympic committee heard that the stadium would be turned into a football ground.

Sullivan and Gold remain unperturbed, though, and are confident a deal can be struck.

Gold believes the deterioration of the specialist athletics track at Crystal Palace provides an example that an athletics stadium, in itself, is unsustainable.

However, Sotherton told BBC Five Live: "Of course athletics can't use it every week, but I'm sure uses can be found for it in the off-season - rock concerts for example.

"We just don't have a stadium that replicates the size and grandeur of an Olympic stadium. It's something the sport desperately needs."

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see also
West Ham stadium plan hit by snag
22 Feb 10 |  West Ham
Stadium move setback for West Ham
17 Feb 10 |  West Ham
The man with the Gold-en touch?
22 Feb 10 |  West Ham
Olympic legacy plans 'unclear'
16 Feb 10 |  London
Coe firm on post-2012 stadium aim
11 Feb 10 |  West Ham
West Ham revive Olympic stadium hopes
03 Feb 10 |  West Ham
Bonds against Hammers stadium bid
20 Jan 10 |  West Ham
West Ham want Olympic venue move
19 Jan 10 |  London
Gold & Sullivan take over Hammers
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Coe eyes 2012 stadium for Worlds
27 Nov 09 |  Athletics
Minister makes 2012 stadium vow
09 Jul 09 |  Olympics
Academy option for 2012 stadium
15 Jan 09 |  Olympics
2012 stadium could house Hammers
20 Apr 06 |  Olympics 2012
West Ham in talks on 2012 stadium
20 Oct 06 |  West Ham

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