Levy: No need to keep track

BY foxsports • February 4, 2011

Levy also claims a takeover of the venue by Spurs would see money pouring into the public purse. Spurs are bidding against West Ham - who would keep the track - to take over the stadium and have faced criticism from those who say London should honour the promises made to the International Olympic Committee when they were awarded the Games. Levy, who added Tottenham fans must put emotions to one side and embrace the proposed move if the club are to find a permanent place among football's elite, said London's original plans for the Olympic Stadium had already been proved unworkable. In an interview, Levy said: "There is no moral argument to retain the running track. Any bid process sees commitments made and then things change. "The original plan was to reduce the stadium to a 25,000-seat stadium just for athletics and nobody wanted it. The minute they went away from that commitment, then it all changed. "The commitment to have no white elephants is also relevant. London 2012 also planned to hold certain events in a venue next to the O2 Arena and now they are being held in Wembley Arena - circumstances change. "From the viewpoint of the taxpayer and therefore the Government, a lot of money has been spent on the Olympics and it is important the taxpayer is not asked to put more money into it in the future. "We will actually be providing significant returns to the taxpayer through lease payments." Spurs' plan would see the Crystal Palace athletics stadium redeveloped for that sport instead, and Levy insisted the plan to demolish the Olympic Stadium and construct a purpose-built football ground in its place was not a waste of the £500million public money already spent on it. "That's a myth," said Levy. "The £500million is the total investment for the total site and it was always intended for much of the structure to come down after the Games - at a cost of £80million. "Under our proposal the vast majority of the stadium will be reutilised in the new stadium or at Crystal Palace. "The notion that the whole thing is being knocked down and wasted is incorrect." Levy said he understood fans' concerns at the club uprooting for north London and moving to east London but insisted that was a step that had to be taken. He said: "I understand that because I have been a Spurs fan all my life. But our fans travel on average 40 miles to each game from all around London and the south east. "If we have to move five miles down the road for the greater good of the club, then that's what we have to do. "I believe the vast majority of fans support us if it means progressing and sometimes you have to make bold decisions. If you look across Europe we are the only major club to play in such a small stadium. "Our capacity is 36,000 and we have a waiting list of 36,000. We know we will sell the Olympic Stadium out every week, we have substantial financial backers, we have a fantastic partnership with AEG and we know therefore there will be no white elephants and that is so important in what will be the entrance to the Olympic Park." Levy said that athletics and football in the same stadium did not work for either sport. He added: "In my opinion we would bring a much bigger contribution to athletics at Crystal Palace, the original home of athletics. The only thing we would not do is have it in the Olympic Park. "The Olympic Park Legacy Company have to take the emotion out of this and look at the long-term viability of the Olympic Park. If they get this wrong it could impact on the public purse for years to come.''


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