London will bid for 2017 World Championships despite uncertainty of Olympic Stadium
Thursday, 18 August 2011
August 18 - UK Athletics today confirmed it will bid to host the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the Olympic Stadium despite the doubts that persist over its future.
The bid, which will be led by London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe, will have the full backing of the UK Government and Mayor of London, UK Athletics claimed.
Coe will lead a coalition of UK Athletics, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), UK Sport and London & Partners, the London Mayor's promotional agency.
The double Olympic 1500 metres gold medallist will personally submit the bid at the World Championships in Daegu next week and a decision is expected in Monte Carlo on November 12, where Doha and an unnamed Spanish city, probably Barcelona, will also be contenders.
"The IAAF and the athletics family have been unwavering in their support for an Olympic legacy and played a crucial role in securing it," said Coe, who as IAAF vice-president is a member of the ruling Council.
"A successful bid will be our opportunity to say thank you for that constant support by delivering a fantastic IAAF World Championships in London that will help drive more young people in to the sport."
UK Athletics have committed to the bid despite the fact that Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient are disputing the decision earlier this year to award the Olympic Stadium after London 2012 to West Ham United.
Tottenham are seeking a judicial review while Orient have taken the case to the European Union.
But UK Athletics have decided still to submit a bid ahead of the closing deadline on September 1.
"I have to be able to look at the IAAF in the eye and give them certainty that we can deliver the Stadium," said Hugh Robertson, the Sport and Olympics Minister.
"We are working very hard on dealing with the legal issues - the best thing of course would be for Tottenham to withdraw their judicial review bid - and I believe this can be resolved.
"The demand for London 2012 athletics tickets proves the level of public support that exists for world-class track and field.
"Hosting the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships would be a wonderful legacy from London 2012 and help us fulfil a commitment made during the bid.
"We have vast experience in hosting world class sporting events and London would be a fantastic location for the Championships.
"It would provide a considerable boost to the capital's economy and help grow the sport by inspiring young people."
Lack of clarity over the future of the Stadium last year forced Britain to scrap a bid for the 2015 World Championships, which were awarded instead to Beijing, hosts of the 2008 Olympics.
That was the latest embarrassing chapter in a story of failed bids and broken promises.
A bid for the 2001 World Championships had to be abandoned after inital plans for an athletics track to be included in the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium were scrapped.
London was then awarded the 2005 Championships by IAAF after then Prime Minister Tony Blair had promised that Britain would build a new stadium at Picketts Lock in North London to host them.
But they were taken away from Britain after the Government went back on its promise and were given to Helsinki instead.
Earlier this month, during a visit to the Olympic Stadium when he was shown around by Coe (pictured above), IAAF President Lamine Diack told insidethegames that unless its future was secured by the time of the vote in November he did not believe the Council would back London's bid.
"London is one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse cities in the world and so athletes can count on some fantastic support if we are lucky enough to host the World Athletics Championships in 2017," said London Mayor Boris Johnson.
"We have a magnificent stadium to offer as a venue and I am in no doubt that we can fill it to the rafters with cheering athletics fans representing every corner of the world.
"Staging this highly-regarded competition also presents us with a huge opportunity to build even further on the economic and sporting legacy of the 2012 Games and so I really hope that London is the winning bid."
Ed Warner, the chairman of UK Athletics, expressed his delight that the bid had been confirmed following a period of uncertainty.
"Today is a very proud day for athletics in the UK, to be able to confirm to the IAAF, with the full support of all our partners that we will submit a bid to host the 2017 World Championships," he said.
"We have the resources, the technical excellence and of course a deep rooted passion for sport.
"That combined with this committed coalition is, I hope a winning combination for the number one Olympic sport."
Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames
August 2011: Exclusive - Football must let athletics have one great legacy from London 2012 claims Turner
August 2011: Exclusive - London bid for World Championships doomed to failure unless Stadium solution found warns IAAF President
August 2011: Orient take London 2012 Olympic Stadium row to Europe
August 2011: West Ham "cleared" over Olympic Stadium as Police called in over Tottenham private investigator
July 2011: Exclusive - I want a quick resolution to Stadium row claims Sir Keith Mills