Yet another hurdle has arisen in the protracted saga of the Olympic Stadium legacy after Ed Warner, chairman of UK Athletics, promised the IAAF that athletics would have priority at the venue.
Warner, who is pitching for the 2017 World Athletics Championship in Monaco tomorrow, said: "Athletics will have primacy in the summer months. We also have a right to host a major competition every few years provided we give two years' notice. Any football club will have to arrange to play away from home during those competitions."
That runs counter to Premier League rule I.4 which stipulates no club can ground-share without a “legally enforceable provision to the effect that the playing of the Club’s League Matches shall always take precedence over the activities of the other party”. This season rugby’s Ospreys had to re-arrange a game at the Liberty Stadium because of Swansea City’s primacy. The Football League have a similar regulation. The Football League have a similar rule, which prevented the proposed sharing of the Walkers Stadium between Leicester City and Leicester Tigers.
The 2017 Athletics Championships, if hosted in London, are likely to be scheduled for nine days between the last week of July and first two weeks of August. This could clash with the start of the football season as that needs to start early enough to allow time for teams to prepare for the 2018 World Cup finals. David Gold, co-owner of West Ham, the most likely football occupants, yesterday expressed reservations about doing so. London are competing with Doha for the right to stage the 2017 championships.
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