Athletics boss slams Olympic stadium plans

Click to follow
The Independent Online

IAAF president Lamine Diack has warned that Britain's reputation in world sport will be "dead" if they commit "a big lie" and abandon their promise to retain an athletics track at the London Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games.

Diack, the head of the international athletics body since 1999, said London had to keep the promises they made to the IOC when they won the bid in Singapore.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) will tomorrow receive final submissions from Tottenham, who want to scrap the running track, and West Ham, who would keep it, ahead of a likely decision next week.

Asked about the effect on British's sport's reputation if they choose the Tottenham bid, Diack told BBC Sport: "You can consider you are dead. You are finished. There is no way to come back to make any proposal as far as my generation is concerned.

"I think as far as this, I think they will be finished. There will be no credibility ... of a great country like Britain and I like very much your country.

"They will have made a big lie to us during their presentation [in Singapore]. A big lie. And after that it is a betrayal, it is a betrayal, yes, absolutely, it is clear."

Diack said it would be wrong for a nation that had produced so many top track and field stars to not have an athletics stadium.

He added: "This nation has a number of heroes in athletics. I could spend an hour, listing one by one all those who've achieved fantastic things in athletics. They are still there, involved. And this country, this city saying that I'm not able to have a stadium of athletics?"

Tottenham's proposal is to provide an athletics legacy by redeveloping Crystal Palace athletics stadium as a 25,000-seat venue with the ability to raise the capacity to 40,000.

This is opposed by UK Athletics and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe who say the promises made to the IOC should be honoured.