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Sebastian Coe expects 2017 World Championships decision to go to last minute


Sebastian Coe expects a battle to the last minute as London bids to be awarded the 2017 World Championships hosting rights tomorrow.

The English capital is going head-to-head with Doha, Qatar, for the right to host the event, and even so close to decision day Coe is adamant the work must go on.

Coe led London to victory in the vote for the 2012 Olympics and was also involved, but in an advisory capacity, in England's failed bid for the 2018 World Cup and would not be drawn on London's chances this time around

He said: "The thing about a bid campaign is that it goes to the last moment - it's about laying out your message clearly about what you are doing for the sport and we have made those very strongly.

"I can tell you our case is being heard very sympathetically. These are my colleagues - it is not selling a second-hand car to someone you have never met. These are friends and colleagues, people I have known for 30 years, and they know the strength of our case."

It has been rumoured the International Association of Athletics Federations will consider awarding the 2019 event as well on Friday.

But Coe, an IAAF vice-president, said there have been no formal approaches to London about accepting 2019 instead - and UK Athletics insist they would be unable to do so.

UKA chairman Ed Warner said: "From London's perspective we are in no position to accept 2019 if we were offered it.

"We have a coalition of funding partners and it would take many months, perhaps stretching beyond a year, to get an answer and we could not guarantee to the IAAF we would accept."

Doha are also understood to much prefer 2017 as they would be concerned that having a 2019 championships could conflict with their bid for the 2020 Olympics.

Coe said: "The very firm instinct for both bids is that it is 2017 we are bidding for, and in London's terms 2017 is what we are able to deliver on and that's our focus.

"This is just the gossip around the coffee houses which changes every 20 minutes, and there have been no formal conversations taking place with any of the bid teams."