Friday, April 21, 2006


Olympic Legacy?

hmmm...reported this morning (,,27-2144374,00.html)

West Ham in line for Olympic legacy

THE West Ham United supporters who will help to fill the new Olympic Stadium and try to urge British athletes to Games gold in 2012 could be returning to the venue to cheer on their football team.

Three days before they attempt to reach their first FA Cup Final for 26 years and with a Uefa Cup place very much in their sights, West Ham got another boost yesterday when they learnt that they could be among the biggest beneficiaries of the London Olympics in six years’ time.

It had previously been planned for the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium to be reduced to 25,000 seats as a permanent home for athletics, to replace the ageing Crystal Palace. However, it may now be possible to have a stadium of at least 40,000 seats, which West Ham could use to replace Upton Park, which has a capacity of 35,056. The stadium’s warm-up track would remain for daily public use.

Lord Coe, who led London’s victorious bid team last summer, said that the London Olympic Organising Committee (Locog) was “looking at all options” for the legacy of the Olympic venues, adding: “I don’t think we have ruled out any Premiership club”. But he insisted that a permanent athletics track would be retained.

One advocate of dual use is Sir Robin Wales, the Mayor of Newham, the London borough where the Games will be held, and a Locog board member. He said: “Letting West Ham have the Olympic Stadium is something that I would support as there would be so many winners.” He foresaw West Ham becoming “one of the big clubs in the world”.

It may be possible for the Olympic Stadium to be reconfigured after the Games so that the front rows of seats could be rolled over the track when a football match is taking place. This occurs at the 80,000-seat Stade de France, which hosted the 2003 World Athletics Championships and is also the venue for leading football and rugby games.

The debate was taking place yesterday as the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Co-ordination Commission began a two-day visit to London to inspect preparations for the Games.

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