World Cup bid could change Olympic plans

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The Independent Online

The woman in charge of 2012 legacy has revealed that she may revamp the plan to scale down the main stadium from 80,000 to 25,000 seats after the Games, especially if it becomes a big part of England's 2018 World Cup bid.

Baroness Ford, who has spoken to Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell over the issue, told BBC London: "It is cast in stone that we leave a Grand Prix athletics stadium. But what I have opened the book around is the other kind of value we can add to this stadium.

"If we won the World Cup bid, that would be one reason to keep the stadium at a particular capacity.

"Tessa and I agree that it is more important that we have a stadium built as an attraction. Whether it's 80,000, 50,000 or 25,000 seats after the Games is a kind of second question."

London organisers have always insisted that the stadium in Stratford, east London, must be left with an athletics track and be reduced in capacity from 80,000 to 25,000 seats after the Games when it is also to be available for community use.

Baroness Ford, in charge of the company that is responsible for ensuring the Olympic Park produces benefits for the region, plans to carry out a review of stadium use.

She would also like it to be a tourist destination and for private firms to help take care of the venues.

Baroness Ford, who helped turn around the fortunes of the Dome into the successful O2 arena, said: "My objective is not to go to London or the Government cap in hand and say we need lots of subsidy to make all of this work.

"I happen to think there is a clear market need for a knockout sports visitor attraction in the UK and that we will be able to find the right kind of operators, as we did with the Dome."