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Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Monday, 11 October 2010 12:34 UK

UK Athletics supports West Ham Olympic stadium bid

London Olympic Stadium
The stadium is to be the showpiece of the 2012 London Games

UK Athletics has given its "formal support" to West Ham's bid to take over London's Olympic Stadium after 2012.

Unlike rival bidders Tottenham, the Hammers and Newham council have vowed to keep a running track at the venue.

UKA chairman Ed Warner praised West Ham's "clear commitment to the spirit of the Olympic legacy".

The Olympic Park Legacy Company is in the middle of the process of deciding who will take over the 80,000-seater venue in east London, after the Games.

"We believe the collaboration of West Ham, Newham and UKA gives the strongest opportunity for a vibrant sporting legacy that will go well beyond 2012," said Warner.

The news is a major boost to West Ham after Spurs and entertainment giant AEG this month submitted their formal interest in taking over the stadium as a back-up to the club's proposed redevelopment of its White Hart Lane home.

ADRIAN WARNER'S BLOG

London Olympics chairman Sebastian Coe backed the Hammers' bid to take over the stadium in August after the club announced they pledged to keep a permanent athletics track.

And Warner is believed to have been angered by AEG president Tim Leiweke's claim that it would not make economic sense to keep the stadium geared up for athletics because of a small number of major events that could be staged at the venue.

Warner added: "What has impressed me so much about the joint bid from West Ham and Newham is their clear commitment to the spirit of the Olympic legacy and not just athletics at the elite end, but with the retention of the community track, our future champions and club runners too.

"It was clear from the start that only a partnership approach would bring to life the vision Seb Coe had when he committed to an athletics legacy in 2005."

West Ham players, including Scott Parker, Carlton Cole and Mark Noble delivered the club's bid to run the stadium at 10 Downing Street at the end of September.

Their plan is to convert the stadium to a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use.

Warner also praised West Ham's support for hosting the 2015 World Athletics Championships at the stadium if London beats Beijing in the bidding to host the event.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) is hoping to select a tenant by March 2011.

606: DEBATE
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Hammers vice-chairman Karren Brady said: "This is fantastic news. We believe ours is the only bid that can deliver London's legacy commitment to the International Olympic Committee. UKA's endorsement is a powerful and highly-valued testament of that.

"Our plan is not just to have a new stadium for West Ham but a real sporting centre for London and the rest of the country.

"We want to create a home of sport, featuring two of the greatest sports, football and athletics, side by side where they can grow and flourish together both in terms of spectatorship and participation at every level.

"UKA have been great in helping us develop that vision over the past eight months and, together with Newham Council, we are ideally placed to make our dream a reality."



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see also
Spurs allay Olympic Stadium fears
06 Oct 10 |  Tottenham
Spurs submit Olympic Stadium bid
01 Oct 10 |  Tottenham
West Ham revive Olympic stadium hopes
03 Feb 10 |  West Ham
West Ham want Olympic venue move
19 Jan 10 |  London
Gold & Sullivan take over Hammers
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham
IOC reopens 2012 stadium debate
30 Oct 08 |  Olympics


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