Pickett's Lock site is under scrutiny

Senior Sport England officials have admitted that the 2005 World Championships may not take place in London if Pickett's Lock does not meet necessary requirements.

Senior Sport England officials have admitted that the 2005 World Championships may not take place in London if Pickett's Lock does not meet necessary requirements.

The government-backed Lottery funders yesterday agreed to spend £1.3m on a feasibility study to determine whether the north London site has the potential to host the event, with a further £1.4m to follow if the first stage proves successful.

Sport England is now likely to defer a decision on whether to release the developers of the "new" Wembley from a clause in their contract - which requires the stadium to be made available for athletics and Olympic events - until the Pickett's Lock study is complete.

There are concerns as to whether Pickett's Lock can actually hold a stadium and whether the £60m earmarked for the development represents value for money. So far, its only confirmed uses are for the 2005 Championships and for the finish of the London Marathon.

"If Pickett's Lock is not a runner, the 2005 Games might not go ahead," admitted Sport England's senior vice-chairman, Des Wilson. "If there is a problem, we will have to face it when it happens."

Even if the Pickett's Lock and Wembley schemes are completed, London will still not have a stadium capable of hosting an Olympic Games.

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