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Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Wednesday, 19 January 2011

West Ham and Tottenham's 2012 stadium plans criticised

London 2012 stadium
The decision on who will take over the stadium will be made by 28 January

West Ham's plan to inherit the London 2012 Olympic stadium after the Games and keep the running track intact has been described as "madness".

The Hammers want to create a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use.

But ex-British Olympic Association chief executive Simon Clegg said: "I don't think it would work."

Tottenham's bid, which would remove the track altogether, has also received heavy criticism from within athletics.

Clegg said of the West Ham plan: "It is not compatible to have football and track and field athletics in the same stadium in this country."

And figures such as ex-BOA chairman Sir Craig Reedie were quick to condemn the Spurs bid.

'We can't renege on 2012 promise'

He was joined by UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee, who warned: "If London doesn't have a stadium where we can organise major championships in athletics, that puts you in a category in Europe that I can't even think of.

"Is there any capital in Europe that can't do this? Even Vilnius or Tallinn (the capitals of Lithuania and Estonia) can do that.

"Maybe the capital of Albania doesn't have a stadium, I don't know.

"I'm astonished when I see all these articles that there's even a discussion, when a promise is made at the time that we made the bid."

Premier League clubs Tottenham and West Ham are competing against each other to become the tenant of London's £527m Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games, with the deadline for all bidders on Friday.

Spurs are bidding in collaboration with entertainment and sports giants AEG, which runs the O2 Arena beside the Thames in Greenwich, south London.

The club want to demolish most of the stadium, removing the track to ensure fans are close to the pitch.

If we have one tenant of a major football club and it is going to keep the athletics track, that is my chosen option

Sir Craig Reedie

Tottenham have promised to invest in London sport as part of their proposal to take over the stadium, pledging to contribute to the refurbishment of the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace.

West Ham say they will retain most of the structure, although they will reduce the venue's 80,000 capacity by 20,000 to create a multi-purpose arena in a collaboration with Newham Council.

Clegg said: "It is quite obvious that the only viable model for the stadium is to have a football club as an anchor tenant.

"But football fans in this country want to be as close to the action as possible.

"I articulated this to Sebastian Coe a couple of years ago but the issue has become even more acute for me since I have been involved in a club.

606: DEBATE
Ben

"The entire bid was based on the principle of sustainable legacy and not creating white elephants and only 17 months out from the Games we have still not resolved the thorny issue of future of the stadium.

"It's madness to suggest we should keep a track just on the basis we may get an athletics world championships or European championships say once every 15 -20 years."

Clegg prefers Tottenham's bid but sees the Crystal Palace scheme as a drawback to their plan.

"It does seem to me that the best solution for the Olympic Stadium would be Tottenham's proposal but on the proviso of a track and field legacy elsewhere in east London rather than Crystal Palace, which is in the wrong place and where public transport links are not good," he added.

"For me, the East End must have a sustainable athletics legacy and it would need to be another new site in east London."

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee board member Reedie said Tottenham's proposal would undermine London's pledge to provide a track legacy for the stadium.

"It would be extremely regretful," he said. "We would lose all credibility [if the running track was moved]."

"If we have one tenant of a major football club and it is going to keep the athletics track, that is my chosen option.

"It was sport that generated the Olympic Park in the first place.

"The only correct long-term usage is to have a stadium which can be used as the centre of future bids for major sports events, probably concentrating on what is the Olympic Games' leading sport."

Countering the argument that running tracks are incompatible with football, Reedie cited the example of Italian clubs Roma and Lazio, who share the Olympic Stadium in Rome.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has a board meeting on Friday, 28 January when it is expected to decide on its preferred bidder.

Its recommendation then has to be ratified by two government departments - the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Department of Communities and Local Government - and the London Mayor's office.

Former Olympic javelin champion Tessa Sanderson will not be permitted to play any part in the decision due to a conflict of interest, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Sanderson is an OPLC board member but she also has a contract with Hammers' partner Newham Council.



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see also
Spurs plan could work - Campbell
18 Jan 11 |  London 2012
Spurs' stadium plan 'appalling'
18 Jan 11 |  London 2012
Palace unveil new stadium plans
20 Jan 11 |  Crystal Palace
Spurs 'to dismantle 2012 stadium'
12 Jan 11 |  London
Gold fears 2012 'white elephant'
23 Mar 10 |  West Ham
Olympic legacy plans 'unclear'
16 Feb 10 |  London
'We can't renege on 2012 promise'
19 Jan 11 |  2012


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