By Tom Degun in Christchurch

Lamine_Diack_Jan_25January 25 - Lamine Diack (pictured), President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), told insidethegames the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) postponing the decision on the future of the Olympic Stadium is not a problem.

West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur were expecting to hear on Friday (January 28) whether they were the preferred bidder for the 2012 venue but must now face a longer wait - possibly until March - after the OPLC announced they were moving the decision back.

But despite the move Diack - who earlier this month described the Tottenham plan to knock down the Stadium and remove the athletics track as "an outrageous proposition" - said the postponement is fine as long as West Ham are awarded the venue, as they will retain an athletics legacy.

"This postponement is not a problem," said Diack, who is here in New Zealand to watch the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships.

"I have made my position about the Stadium very clear from the very beginning.

"I was expecting to see this decision made on Friday but it does not matter when this decision is made.

"The important thing is only to see the right decision made."

Diack, also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said he was pleased to see London 2012 chairman and his IAAF vice-president Sebastian Coe say London has a "moral obligation" to ensure the arena retains a multi-sport legacy.

"I'm happy with what he said," he told insidethegames.

"Lord Coe is the one who made the promise of an athletics legacy in 2005 in Singapore.

"He is also my vice-president at the IAAF so I don't expect him to say anything else.

"He made this promise, but this is not the fault of Lord Coe.

"If it was up to Coe to decide, the decision for athletics at the Stadium would have been made long ago.

"He knows that the city of London needs an athletics legacy from 2012 and that destroying the Olympic track is unacceptable.

"Great Britain has a fantastic tradition in athletics.

"Coe knows this.

"Coe was a part of this.

"That is why he will always fully support the promise he made - this is no surprise"


Meanwhile, Ed Warner, chairman of UK Athletics, has said the on-going battle over the Stadium will not become a debacle unless Spurs move into the venue.

"To my mind, it only becomes a debacle if the Tottenham bid to take over the Stadium is chosen," he told insidethegames here.

"The promise that was made in Singapore in 2005 was an athletics legacy, not only in London, but actually in the Olympic Stadium, and Diack's comments on wanting London honouring that promise I was very pleased, and not surprised, to see.

"West Ham and Newham's bid is more than financially viable.

"It is a very strong bid economically, it makes sense for the Olympic Park, it makes sense to the community of East London and it absolutely makes sense for athletics.

"So I would say to the OPLC, as I have been saying to them from day one, you have a sensible solution here which will make for a vibrant stadium in a vibrant park.

"I would like to think that it is an obvious choice but I am not the one making that choice.

"I'm just shouting out on behalf of that solution because it is the solution that was promised, and West Ham and Newham, to their credit, have taken the promises and turned them into an economically strong and exciting solution which we are very pleased with."

Warner added that should the West Ham and Newham bid be successful, he would be extremely keen on bidding for the 2017 World Athletics Championships straight away.

"The deadline for submitting our expression of interest for 2017 is sometime in March and as soon as the Stadium decision is taken - hopefully in favour of West Ham and Newham - we will be expressing that interest.

"We got strong support from the Government late last year for the 2015 bid but the Stadium decision obviously got in the way of that, so I'll be going back to them and I'm very confident of their continued support for a bid for 2017.

"I mean, why have the Stadium if you're not going to use it?"

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
January 2011: London 2012 Olympic Stadium decision postponed
January 2011: We will "trash our international reputation" if Tottenham given Olympic Stadium warns Coe
January 2011: Tessa Sanderson threatens lawsuit over Olympic Stadium vote exclusion
January 2011: "You'll have one of finest stadiums in Europe" Levy tells Spurs fans as Pele backs their bid
January 2011: Diack - It is time for Britain to make good on its broken promises