October 3 - A top-level group led by London Mayor Boris Johnson and Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson will today seek to reassure senior International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) officials there is no doubt over the future of the £486 million ($756 million/€561 million) Olympic Stadium after London 2012 which could affect the city's bid to host the 2017 World Championships.
Johnson and Robertson will join together with London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe, a vice-president of the IAAF who is heading the bid to host the World Championships, and Baroness Margaret Ford, the chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), for an early-morning meeting with the nine members of the Evaluation Commission, led by American Bob Hersh, before they travel on the Javelin train from St Pancras to visit the Stadium.
There they will lay out the legal guarantees designed to show that, despite the judicial review granted to Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient, the track will definitely remain in the Stadium after the Olympics and Paralympics.
"The ongoing legal action is not relevant as far as the 2017 bid is concerned because what is not in question is athletics will stay in the Stadium and will be at the heart of it after the Olympic Games," Baroness Ford told insidethegames.
"That decision has been taken by the Government, by the Mayor, by ourselves and we are working very hard to get the Stadium transformed in time for the 2014-2015 season."
Tottenham and Orient have both disputed the decision by the OPLC to award the Stadium to West Ham United, claiming that the £40 million ($66 million/€45 million) loan provided by Newham Borough Council to the Championship club is illegal under European Union law.
There is growing anger among senior politicians and officials that Tottenham have still refused to sign-up to a £17 million ($27 million/€19.5 million) joint package offered to them by Johnson and Haringey Council and that is jeopardising London's bid to host the World Athletics Championships.·
They had hoped to have concluded a deal before the arrival in the capital of the Evaluation Commission, who were greeted by the sight of former world heptathlon Jessica Ennis being projected on to London's iconic landmark, Tower Bridge, to mark her official unveiling as an ambassador for the bid.
The issue over the future of Stadium is particularly sensitive because London were awarded the 2005 World Championships after then Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to build a stadium at Pickett's Lock to host it.
He then went back on that promise and then Sports Minister Richard Caborn tried to move the event to Sheffield, which the IAAF refused and instead gave to Helsinki.
London's only rivals, Doha, have been trying to exploit the uncertainty by promoting the fact that the Khalifa Stadium in the Qatari capital is already there and has hosted several major events, including the 2006 Asian Games.
But Baroness Ford claims that the two situations are not comparable becuase this time London does have a Stadium it can host the event in and that is not in doubt.
Even if Tottenham and Orient's judicial review on October 18 is successful it does not affect the Stadium's future, she insisted.
"It's about a very small point about the financing of the Stadium which we have already anticipated and will deal with that if happens," said Baroness Ford.
"But we absolutely don't expect that to happen.
"We are fully confident of our case but, even if there was any doubt, it does not affect athletics in the Stadium - that is the key."
To coincide with the Evaluation Commission's visit the track inside the Stadium will be publicly unveiled today for the first time at a special ceremony to be attended by several of Britain's leading athletes and local schoolchildren.
"This is the new home of UK Athletics after the Olympics, there is no doubt about that," said Baroness Ford.
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