Athletics: Coe fears for future of capital venue

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The Independent Online

The former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe has made a plea to London's politicians to save Crystal Palace from possible demolition.

The venue hosts the Norwich Union London Grand Prix tomorrow, but Coe is concerned that beyond thisthe future is unclear, a situation that could dent London's chances of hosting the Olympics in 2012.

Crystal Palace is currently run by Sport England but their lease on the stadium runs out next year and responsibility should revert to Bromley Council. But neither body have committed to spending the vast amounts needed to maintain the stadium, prompting Coe's fears that it could be bulldozed.

"This is probably where the Mayor [Ken Livingstone] is absolutely central to finding a resolution," Coe said.

Livingstone said he will do all he can to keep the venue up and running. "Crystal Palace's future is not dependent on the Olympics alone," he said. "The stadium and sports centre are vital facilities and a major asset to the local community.

"With international sports governing bodies keen to bring their events to London, Crystal Palace is the only venue capable of hosting them."