Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spurs 'would ditch' Olympic track

London 2012 Olympic Stadium
As many as 30 bids could have been made for the Olympic Stadium, says AEG

Tottenham will not retain a running track at the Olympic Stadium should they win the rights to move there in 2012, bid partner AEG has revealed.

Spurs submitted formal interest in the stadium last week in a joint bid with the sport and entertainment company.

Despite a pledge by London Olympic organisers to keep track and field as a permanent feature at the stadium, AEG say it would make no economic sense.

But it is understood that Spurs would prefer to redevelop White Hart Lane.

The north London club were granted planning permission for a new 56,250-seater stadium - called the Northumberland Development Project - by Haringey Council last Thursday.

The application set now to be considered by the Mayor of London and referred to the Secretary of State.


However, last Thursday was also the deadline for submitting interest in 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium, and AEG Europe chief executive David Campbell admitted "not having a Plan B would be a really stupid idea" for Tottenham.

The company that revived the former Millennium Dome, now the O2 Arena, insists its bid with Spurs is a serious one, with Campbell adding: "We don't back losers so I don't think we will be backing a loser."

He also claimed that the Olympic Park Legacy Company, which will decide the future of the stadium, did not oblige bidders to retain a running track.

And, revealing details of the bid for the first time on Tuesday, AEG president Tim Leiweke said it would not make sense to keep the stadium geared for athletics after the Olympics because of a lack of major track and field events that could be staged at the venue.

"I think it's a crime if you sacrifice having a perfect football stadium for convincing yourself you are going to do a track and field event every 10 years... that can't stand on its own two feet,» said Leiweke.

"There are very few stand-alone track and field events that pay for themselves to use a whole stadium.

"With football you're going to get 30-plus matches a year and you'll be able to talk about naming rights and founding partners and suites and the revenue streams to make these kind of venues work."

West Ham also submitted an application to take over the stadium to the legacy company, and is committed to keeping the track, meeting a pledge made to the International Olympic Committee by London organisers at the time of bidding for the games.

The legacy company, which hopes to identify a preferred tenant by December and have a long-term lease agreement signed by next March, has not revealed how many bids for the stadium it has received, but Campbell said he believed there are "two other credible bids [other than Tottenham's], but there could be 30 bids overall".

Potenshöjande medel -

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