West Ham United has seen its bid to move into the London 2012 Olympic Stadium boosted by an official endorsement from UK Athletics (UKA).
UKA - the governing body for the sport of athletics in the United Kingdom – offered its “formal support” to the proposals following consultation with a number of the bidding parties.
UKA chairman Ed Warner said: “What has impressed me so much about the joint bid from West Ham and Newham is their clear commitment to the spirit of the Olympic legacy and not just athletics at the elite end, but with the retention of the community track, our future champions and club runners too.”
“It was clear from the start only a partnership approach would bring to life the vision Seb Coe had when he committed to an athletics legacy in 2005 and we believe the collaboration of West Ham, Newham and UKA gives the strongest opportunity for a vibrant sporting legacy that will go well beyond 2012.”
Organisers confirmed last week the Olympic Park would reopen as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2013, after a phased transformation.
West Ham United
Following the announcement West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady said: “We believe ours is the only bid that can deliver London’s legacy commitment to the International Olympic Committee.
“UKA’s endorsement is a powerful and highly-valued testament of that.”
Tottenham Hotspur are among the other contenders for the site, having put forward a joint bid with entertainment group AEG moments ahead of the deadline last week.
Spurs have been granted planning permission by Haringey council to build a 56,000-seater stadium adjacent to White Hart Lane, but chairman Daniel Levy said it was “prudent and good management” to explore alternatives.
The club must still overcome several hurdles with their preferred option, including approval from the London Mayor and the Government.
However, doubts have been expressed over the lack of support for athletics in the Tottenham bid for the stadium, with Warner branding the bid “an insult to the whole Olympic project”.