Written evidence submitted by UK Athletics
1.1 UK Athletics (UKA), Britain's Governing
Body for the premier Olympic and Paralympic sport is responsible
for the preparation and performance of athletes at major international
events at all age groups from Junior through to the elite level.
This programme is supported by our funding agency, UK Sport and
commercial income directly into the sport, and is aimed at getting
British athletes to the start line in optimum condition to give
them their best opportunity to fulfil their potential.
1.2 UKA also provides strategic direction to
the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs) on all aspects
of governance and the development of the sport. Since 2007, under
the leadership of Chairman Ed Warner and Chief Executive Niels
de Vos the sport has been transformed with a clear focus on delivering
increased levels of performance, enhanced quality of coaching
and a clearer performance pathway for all young athletes.
1.3 Athletics is the foundation of all physical
literacyrunning, jumping and throwing form the basis of
most other sports. A vibrant athletics scene in schools and clubs
is beneficial for every sport and UKA works with the Home Country
Athletics Federations, Sports Councils, Youth Sport Trust and
sponsors, including NASUWT, to ensure continued investment aimed
at getting athletics back onto the curriculum.
1.4 UKA has worked closely with the London
2012 bid team and subsequently with LOCOG, the ODA and the Olympic
Park Legacy Company since a bid for the Games was first conceived.
The original legacy concept that emerged is a testimony to this
collaborative work and the stadium will represent a major boost
to athletics in the UK when it is delivered in full legacy mode
as promised by the Olympic Board after the London Games.
1.5 The legacy and future use of the stadium
is still unclear. However UKA continues to work closely with LOCOG,
the ODA, the GLA and Olympic Park Legacy Company to resolve this
1.6 This submission is focused solely on
the issue of stadium legacy. On all other areas of legacy UKA
continues to work with all relevant parties to capitalise on inspirational
aspects of the Games for the wider long term benefit of athletics.
2. OLYMPIC STADIUM
2.1 Attendances at athletics meetings range
from 50,000+ for Olympics or World Championships to between 8,000-15,000
for the great majority of top domestic meetings. The biggest event
in the British calendarthe Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal
Palaceattracts a daily crowd of around 20,000.
2.2 Therefore, the initial dilemma that we faced
with the London 2012 bid team was that of the optimum legacy stadium
capacity. The capacity decision had to weigh up the "once
in a lifetime" London bid for an Olympics or World Championships
against the impact of having a three-quarters empty stadium for
all other events.
2.3 The clear preference of athletes, broadcasters
and spectators is for a packed stadium, creating an inspirational
atmosphere (and a backdrop for television). Thus we have promoted
the idea of a stadium with a reduced capacity of c25,000 after
the London Games. With a separate warm-up track, this would make
the stadium complex suitable for all events from National Schools
Championships up to and including the European Championships.
The warm-up track is not a "nice to have", it is essential
if the Olympic Stadium is to host any sort of large event, including
European or World Championships, Diamond League Grand Prix events,
international age group Championships or even English Schools.
2.4 The UK Athletics vision for the stadium
"aspirational and accessible; inspirational
and inclusivehosting major international championships
and televised events, as well as being the pinnacle of domestic
athletics competition for all age groups and hosting school, club
and community events"
3. THE STADIUM
3.1 UK Athletics has worked with LOCOG/ODA
and their consultants to develop a stadium brief that can deliver
the above vision. We have pushed for and gained a commitment to
the retention of a warm up track in legacy mode, which is essential
to fulfil the major events potential of the Stadium and also offers
great benefits to the community use at both school and club level,
particularly if the stadium is being shared with field sports
where midweek games would disrupt the athletics use. Without this
warm up track, it would be impossible to host major international
events at the stadium at either senior or age group level.
3.2 UKA have always worked with the partners
on stadium legacy on the assumption of shared usage of the facility
post 2012 and a Heads of Terms usage agreement outlining this
approach was signed in 2008.
3.3 The ODA's original commitment to the
legacy needs of athletics means the Olympic Stadium should be
the focus for an annual programme of high quality events, including
the London Grand Prix and international bid events that can maintain
the post-2012 profile of the sport with young people, leading
to increased participation and performance in domestic athletics.
We can also maximise the prospect of British success from the
time-honoured hometown advantage.
3.4 We would also make the stadium the pinnacle
of our domestic competition for all ages of athletes. Unlike the
"hallowed turf" of, for example, Wembley Stadium where
only a handful of footballers get to play each season, competing
at the Olympic Stadium can be a realistic aspiration for thousands
of athletes who come through their local and regional competitions.
We believe that this will be a major inspiration for the next
generations of athletes who must be a legacy of the London Games.
Furthermore, the stadium and its second track can become a training
venue for club and school athletics in the area.
4. THE CURRENT
4.1 Despite the ongoing collaboration with
all parties, there is still great uncertainty over the use of
the Olympic Stadium in legacy mode.
4.2 The stadium has been shortlisted as one of
those that may play a central role in the 2018 World Cup should
England be successful.
4.3 This would leave an 80,000 seater stadium
behind with only partial roof cover.
4.4 Currently there are feasibility studies
being carried out to scope out the cost of a 28,000 seater stadium
(scalable to 38,000) and 50,000 seats.
4.5 Whilst we are in no doubt that the stadium
will be "a purpose built home for athletics for generations
to come" as promised by Tessa Jowell in Singapore in 2005
there is a distinct lack of an agreed and long term plan.
4.6 It is important that a plan is identified
as soon as possible so UKA can work on a major events bid programme
to ensure full usage of the stadium. The ongoing delays in decisions
mean we are at risk of missing deadlines. A decision on the host
of 2015 World Championships will be taken in 2011 and UKA cannot
submit a bid or beginning lobbying whilst we do not know the stadium
size, already placing the UK at a significant disadvantage to
other bidding cities such as Beijing who began their campaigning
last year. Waiting for December's decision on 2018 World Cup,
before confirming stadium size, will effectively remove the option
of a bid for 2015 World Championships.
4.7 Any bid must be clearly thought through
and have full commitment from all parties, UKA cannot afford a
repeat of the reputational damage caused in 2005 when the UK withdrew
from hosting the World Championships.
4.8 From 2010 the Aviva London Grand Prix
will be part of the revolutionary global athletics series, The
Diamond League. This will further raise the profile of the sport
in the UK and as the only two day event in the 14 meeting series
the London Grand Prix will be the highest profile Diamond League
event. It is anticipated that the Olympic Stadium will be the
annual home of this global event.
5.1 UK Athletics is grateful for the opportunity
to input into and influence the development of the Olympic Stadium.
We will continue to offer technical assistance as required, and
to work with the potential owner/operators of the stadium to produce
a compelling annual programme of athletics events of all levels
that can sit alongside other sports and tenants.
5.2 Athletics can certainly co-exist with a Premier
League football club in a 50,000 seater stadium, but not on any
terms. As it stands this route is replete with uncertainty and
potentially cost to the public purse. This approach needs considerable
5.3 Leaving the Olympic Stadium at 80,000
capacity is guaranteed to leave the country with an expensive
white elephant and should not form the basis of any solution.
5.4 We are keen to ensure that there is
proper management of the stadium in place in legacy mode. There
are a number of issues around ownership, management, tenancy agreements
and other tenants that are yet to be resolved. These will also
affect the final decisions concerning the stadium in legacy mode
and we would like to see these resolved as soon possible to ensure
an ongoing commitment to full roofing for spectators and a warm
up track post 2012 so stadium usage is optimised.