London Olympic Stadium doubts set to cause World Championships Bid to fail

August 8, 2011

The President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Lamine Diack, has stated that unless guarantees can be made over the future of London’s Olympic Stadium in the next three month, the city’s bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships is nearly certain to fail.

Doubts still exist over whether the running track will be retained when the Olympic Games is concluded as the stadium, whose future ownership and usage has been heavily contested. is set to be handed over to soccer club West Ham United.

The decision by the Olympic Park Legacy Committee (OPLC) is still being disputed by soccer rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who hope for a judicial review into the decision. Tottenham plan to remove the running track if they secure the stadium.

Lamine Diack, during his first visit to the Olympic Stadium since the running track’s installation, told insidethegames that Britain’s failures to keep previous promises will count against its bid unless they can meet certain criteria.

“We have a wonderful stadium of athletics here. We are expecting a full stadium morning and afternoon. I think we will have the most wonderful atmosphere we have ever had at a Championships.

“They [London 2012] have delivered a fantastic Stadium. The problem is, ‘Are we going to have this continue in the future?’ That is the big problem.”

Doubts over the future of the stadium last year forced Britain to scrap a bid for the 2015 World Championships, which were awarded instead to Beijing, hosts of the 2008 Olympics.

Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012 and the vice-president of the IAAF, said he was confident that a resolution could be found before the November 12 vote.

He said: “The commitment from the Minister and the Mayor [Boris Johnson] is very clear – they want this to happen. That commitment has been made to Lamine. The issue is obviously keeping the track and that has been made clear and there is a commitment within that to 2017. I think we are in pretty good shape and I think he understands that.

“The Mayor and the Sports Minister both have a very clear view that they want the 2017 World Athletics Championships. It is a really smart legacy soon after the Games and we need to live within the commitment we made to world sport that there would be a track here.

“One way or another we will get there.”