London is on a shortlist of three to host the 2015 World Athletics Championships with the Olympic Stadium, currently under construction in Stratford, at the centre of the bid. The IAAF, the sport's governing body, will make its final decision in November.
The long-term future of the £537m stadium, which is being built to hold 80,000 for the 2012 Games, is also to be decided later this year, with the Olympic Park Legacy Company shortly to invite tenders. Whoever is successful will now certainly have to incorporate a running track, which could impact on any interest from West Ham United.
UK Athletics, and its chairman Ed Warner, have long preferred to see the stadium's capacity reduced to 28,000 and for it to become an established home for their sport. If London wins the 2015 event, a temporary ring of 12,000 seats would be added. West Ham's interest has been rekindled since the club was taken over by David Gold and David Sullivan last year and they are believed still to be exploring a move from Upton Park. That would see the capacity set around 50,000, but the costs of converting it to a ground suitable for Premier League football may prove prohibitive. The stadium is also under consideration as a venue for England's 2018 World Cup bid.
Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, said recently that the stadium would have a future as an athletics venue and played down the chances of a football club moving in, as Manchester City did to Eastlands after the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Warner has previously warned that any West Ham interest in the stadium could "wreck" London's chances of hosting the 2015 event.
The IAAF has received letters of intent from London, Beijing, the host city of the 2008 Olympics, and the Polish city of Chorzow. The three will present their bids in September before a decision is announced at the IAAF's congress two months later.
London was awarded the 2005 event but had to withdraw embarrassingly when the funding for the planned Picketts Lock venue was withdrawn.Reuse content