UKA chief backs Hammers bid

Warner is firmly in the Hammers’ camp with the Olympic Park Legacy
Company (OPLC) expected to make a decision at the end of the month.
Tottenham claim their plan to demolish the stadium and rebuild a
purpose-built football ground, plus redevelop Crystal Palace
athletics stadium, would be far more sustainable and lucrative –
and avoid the problems of a running track inside the stadium. But
Warner said: “The decision-makers have a choice of taking the
filthy lucre offered by Tottenham or doing right by the Olympic
Movement and standing by the promises made by London in Singapore.
In my mind it’s an easy decision to make.” Warner also denied that
West Ham’s economic case does not stack up. He added: “I think West
Ham’s economic case is rock solid and based on them being a
Championship club in the first instance. So they are not being
imprudent, they would have a loan from Newham council and there is
no public subsidy, no drain on the public purse.” Tottenham are
aware of the need for London to have an athletics legacy after the
2012 Olympics and have identified a renovation of Crystal Palace as
their best option for the sport. But Warner described that as “a
meagre consolation prize”, adding: “It’s not in the best part of
London and not in the Olympic Park and we don’t think it could be
turned into a stadium we could take the World Championships to.” UK
Athletics are intending to bid for the 2017 World Championships
being based at the Olympic Stadium. The need to express their
interest by March. However Rick Parry, the former Premier League
and Liverpool chief executive, has expressed major doubts about
West Ham’s bid to take over the stadium due to their plans to keep
the running track. Parry said: “Football-specific stadia are far
more suited to the needs of the football-going public than stadiums
with an athletic track round it. “My experience of stadiums around
Europe is that when you have a track you lose atmosphere, and the
further from the pitch you are the less intimate the experience.
“Having spent many years on the plans for the new Anfield I know
how critically important it is to get the sight-lines right and the
viewing distances right, in terms of maximising revenue and the
supporters getting the best match-day experience. “I think it does
have a genuine effect on attendances – the more you meet the needs
of the paying public the more likely they are to come.” Gus Poyet,
the former Tottenham midfielder and now manager of Brighton, said
his experiences with the running track at the Withdean Stadium have
not been positive. Poyet said: “The track is one of the biggest
problems we have and why we are desperate to move to the new
stadium. “As a foreigner one of the best things about playing here
is that the supporters are very close – the atmosphere is a massive
difference and it should be a football stadium and not an athletics
stadium.”