Lord Coe: London stadium has a bright future

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has denied that the new Olympic Stadium will become a white elephant

The Government announced last week that the stadium would remain in public ownership and be leased out after the 2012 Games and Lord Coe believes the right decision has been made.

“I think it was the right decision to cut through the potential for the ongoing legal challenge here and, worse than that, ongoing legal challenge that was taxpayer-fuelled,” he said.

“I do think it is very important that we maintain a commitment to an Olympic legacy and to a mix of tenancies in there - that is a commitment we made and think we should see through.”

London 2012 and Olympic Delivery Authority Executives were appearing at City Hall to answer questions about preparations for the Games.

Assembly member John Biggs said: “The decision that has been made regarding the stadium is at very high risk of creating a white elephant.”

But two-time athletics 1500m Olympic champion, Lord Coe, also refuted claims there was not enough demand for athletics at the stadium.

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The capacity at the stadium will be decreased after the Games and the venue will also be used to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships, should the London bid be successful.

Lord Coe believes the success of the Diamond League meetings in London proves that future events will be well-attended.

“London is now the only city that stages two of those back-to-back. We not only sell out for every one of those meetings but we would also probably be able to sell five times that number of tickets,” he said.

“There is no lack of demand for top-class track and field in this country but clearly sitting alongside the use of the stadium for local events, English schools championships and the plethora of events and other competitions that are there.

“If we had a larger venue we would fill that venue. You have only got to go to Crystal Palace for any of those Diamond League meetings to know how many people turn up on spec hoping to get tickets.

“Don’t run away with the idea that track and field is a sport that is not supported.”

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