(N31) - Football story - how the Olympic Legacy might effect Crystal Palace


Football Story

Rumours abound... standard for the Crystal Palace area, so it seems. Is the Park going to be covered with footballs or football fans or a football field even?

I can confirm that answer is No, No, No. But... there are these persistent rumours. A fleeting news item on BBC 1 on Wednesday night started the rumour mill going. It was so fleeting that, I (and apparently others) got the story mixed up. The issue centres around the legacy for the Olympic Stadium. Both West Ham FC and Tottenham FC have evidently put in bids to take over the athletics stadium after the Olympic Games in 2012:

West Ham FC - will reduce the number of seats to that typical of Premier League clubs and will retain the athletics track; this could have seats placed over it when football matches are taking place to bring the fans closer to the action.

Totenham FC - want to demolish the Olympic stadium and rebuild it as a 'normal' football stadium (no track) but will keep the idea of an athletics legacy by offering to rebuild athletics elsewhere; Crystal Palace has been mooted as the recipient of the Olympic athletics legacy funded by Tottenham.

If the above is correct, which would benefit the Park most? The West Ham proposal does not seem to have any impact on the Park Master Plan. On the face of it, the Tottenham proposal will mean more money for the Park. Downside...the larger number of people catered for by the refurbished Crystal Palace stadium may cause more disruption than we experience at present during athletics meetings. However, this seems to be manageable because these large athletics meetings are fairly infrequent. Contents

Here's a thought - Tottenham FC should fund the whole of Zone E!

The athletics stadium at Crystal Palace is in the Master Plan, Zone E "Central Sports Area". A description of what is planned for that area can be found in the

The costing for work in Zone E was determined to be £4.9 million.

on Page 37 of the "Design and Access Statement a brief overview is given of proposals for Zone E:

The Central Sports Area (E)

The Grade II* listed NSC building would be retained, but converted into a dry sports centre for activities such as 5- a-side football and hockey. The NSC is currently located on the site of the northern Grand Basin. The proposal is to fi ll the sunken area around the NSC, raising the levels so that the parkland landscape and the entrance level of the building are the same. The Olympic sized 50m swimming pool would be moved to a new Crystal Palace Regional Sports Centre (CP RSC) within the Park after the Olympics. The CP RSC would be located below ground taking advantage of the topography of the Park, with an accessible green roof as an extension of the Transitional Landscape parkland. It would be open to the existing track. Contents


Zone E is shown in the Cost Plan page 5:

zone map Contents

Appendix A shows areas excluded from the Cost Plan:

cost exclusions Contents

Note that the athletics arena and NSC are excluded. They have been part of separate regeneration activities. Something like £17 million was spent on the NSC which inlcuded asbestos removal, renewal of much of the plant etc (reported elsewhere on this site). The arena, following the temporary shutdown in March 2004 when the Sport England lease ended, has had about £2 million spent on improving the track (mainly).

Thus the £4.9 million is covers the landscaping aspect of Zone E amongst other things but not the NSC rebuild, for example.

So, if Tottenham, are serious the proposed refurbishment of the athletics track should also cover all the costs for Zone E.

What others have said about the Olympic Legacy.

Olympic Park Legacy Company (selected quotes)link to OLC

Their vision: The Olympic Park will be at the centre of London’s growth this century, and a vibrant focal point for events, sport and leisure. Its connections, sporting facilities, parkland, waterways and family housing will form a unique mix – building on the best of London’s traditions to create a ‘21st Century garden city’ and linking into surrounding neighbourhoods to promote convergence, regeneration and prosperity in east London.

Their objectives: Securing the long term development and management of the Olympic Park site and venues in ways which provide lasting national and local sporting, cultural, education and leisure benefits and which preserve the site’s Olympic heritage.

Statement on the Olympic Stadium 22 January 2010:

Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said:
"The Company has been very focussed to secure the best possible use for the Olympic Stadium after the Games.
"We have been examining all options which will both secure the financial viability and significant public investment in the Stadium coupled with making sure that legacy promises are fulfilled.
"It is very encouraging that there is great interest and enthusiasm in the future use for the Stadium. It is already a dominant structure on London’s landscape and offers fantastic opportunities to fulfil its Olympic legacy.
"We are perfectly clear that the future of this valuable public asset is secured in a way which allows the best opportunities to come forward and at the same time offer the best value for money for the public purse.
"In the coming months, we will put in a place a process which will allow appropriate uses for the Stadium to be brought forward, which we will then evaluate against a set of criteria prior to the Board of Legacy Company making recommendations to the Mayor and Ministers." Contents

Mail Online link to mail online

Don't let Tottenham vandals wreck the Olympic legacy! Des Kelly 15 January 2011

So the plan is to tear down a brand new Olympic stadium worth half a billion pounds after just three weeks of serious use and then build another ground on the same spot. That has nothing to do with the word 'legacy'. That's vandalism. Tottenham Hotspur's proposals for the main arena of the 2012 Games tell you everything you need to know about the swaggering arrogance and shameless opportunistic greed of modern football.

For Spurs to blithely announce that they will relocate to a part of east London that has nothing to do with them, flatten an 80,000-seat stadium, replace it with a new football-only facility that holds 60,000, even though thousands of their own fans oppose the move, is breathtaking in its conceit.

But this wrecking-ball diplomacy faces another obstacle. One of the key promises that Great Britain made when they won the right to host the 2012 Games was to guarantee the Olympic arena would retain an athletics track as part of London's ongoing legacy.

Tottenham think they have found a crafty way around that. They say they will revamp the decrepit Crystal Palace site and athletics can continue to be catered for there. But if Palace were a prime location, it would hardly be in the state of disrepair and neglect it is now. The transport links are poor and the only way Crystal Palace might seriously be renovated is via the detonation of a small nuclear device. At least the Olympic venue would allow the nation's capital to host the World and European Athletics Championships in the years ahead.

Besides, who the hell do Spurs think they are? Who are they to tell the sport of athletics where their ambitions would be better served?

This is a stadium that was essentially paid for with taxpayers' money and National Lottery funding. So it is our Olympic Stadium - and immediately knocking it down after the Games, a venue where history will be made, would be the height of philistinism.

Moreover, how can Britain sneer at FIFA as they wriggle out of pledges and rewrite the Qatar 2022 World Cup plans without any discernible mandate if we cannot keep our promises on major events held here?

Spin doctors say the move makes economic sense for Tottenham because they can earn around £150million from the new stadium naming rights. Well, whoop de doo. Frankly, nobody beyond those with Spurs' allegiances gives a javelin toss whether a Premier League club makes even more money or not.

But there is an alternative scenario to Tottenham's bulldozer plot. West Ham also hope to move up the road to the Olympic site. They intend to retain the athletics track, much of the existing structure and allow the local community access to a multi-purpose stadium in partnership with Newham Council. Now I'm not exactly doing cartwheels about the Hammers' porn barons getting their hands on the ground either, and it is obvious that watching football across an athletics track can be an alienating compromise. But I'd still rather David Gold and David Sullivan had the place if it means locals and other sports are catered for and the athletics has somewhere better to call home after the Games than Crystal Palace.

The Olympic Park Legacy Board is due to announce its verdict at the end of this month. The clue as to how they must vote is in their name, where the words 'Olympic Legacy' figure prominently. Spurs don't really offer one of those. And we have to remember that sport in this country is not all about football, you know.

[Ed: a bit disparaging about the state of the Crystal Palace facilities ...'decrepit' - 'renovated is via the detonation of a small nuclear device' - 'athletics has somewhere better to call home after the Games than Crystal Palace' ? Steady on!...but he may be right!] Contents

BBC News London link to BBC

Tottenham 'would demolish Olympic Stadium after Games'

Tottenham Hotspur FC has confirmed it would demolish most of the Olympic Stadium if it won the bid to take it over after the 2012 Games.

Stadium architect David Keirle said the club would use its own money to redevelop the stadium for its use.

Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United have both submitted bids to occupy the facility after the Olympics has begun.

The Olympic Park Legacy Committee (OPLC) will recommend who will take over the stadium by 28 January. [Ed: my highlight]

The decision will then be agreed by London mayor Boris Johnson and the government.

Tottenham said it would demolish the stadium because it feels the venue is not suitable for football with seats being too far away, for example.

'Lacking tangible legacy'

Architect David Keirle said: "It's not entirely demolition. We will be using some of the undercroft (cellar) but we're not using much.

"We may be taking some elements to Crystal Palace for its redevelopment."

He said it would be an easier and cheaper solution for Tottenham to go to the Olympic Stadium rather than redevelop its ground White Hart Lane, as the club would spend about the same but get more for its money.

If West Ham wins the bid, it has offered to reduce the 80,000-seat venue in Stratford, east London, to a 60,000 capacity after the Games.

It would cost the club between £150m and £180m to convert the venue by extending the roof, creating a pitch, turnstiles, toilets and space for corporate hospitality.

It would borrow £40m from Newham Council.

The chairman of UK Athletics, Ed Warner, said Tottenham Hotspur's proposal was "completely lacking a tangible Olympic legacy".

"Instead they have confirmed their intention to demolish the Olympic stadium.

"The promise made by the London 2012 bid team in Singapore in 2005 was for an athletics legacy in the stadium, and the global athletics community expect this promise to be kept." Contents


End Game....?

Department of Culture, Media and Sport statement on the future of the Stadium: (Olympic Park Legacy Company website link to OPLC)

The Government and Mayor of London have decided to end the current process to dispose of the Olympic Stadium, which has become bogged down in a number of legal and other challenges.

The Stadium will now be retained as a public asset and the Olympic Park Legacy Company has been asked to start a new process to secure tenants for the venue.

Athletics will remain at the heart of the facility, as has been promised as part of the 2017 World Athletics Championship bid, but the Legacy Company will also seek leasehold football tenants, as well as considering alternative options. This ownership model is used very successfully in other stadiums across the UK and across Europe, and is also in-keeping with the other venues on the Olympic Park and the management of them after the Games.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, said:

“The Government is committed to securing a legacy from the Olympic Stadium, and wants to see it re-opening in 2014.
“The process to sell the Stadium has become bogged down. We are acting today to end the legal paralysis that has put that legacy at risk. Ending the current sale process and looking for a leasehold solution will remove the current uncertainty and allows us to help secure the future use of the Stadium with more confidence.”

Please note: The above statement was originally released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

[Ed - as a result, all legal challenges have been dropped. The football tenant/s for the stadium has/have not yet been chosen; it may well be West Ham]


It has just been announced (tonight 11/11/11) that London has been awarded the 2017 World Athletics Championships - fantastic news... from the BBC (Friday, 11 November 2011) -

London beats Doha to stage 2017 World Athletics Championships

The World Athletics Championships will be held in the United Kingdom for the first time after London was selected ahead of Doha to host the 2017 event. International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack said London won the vote 16-10. The English capital, which failed with bids to host the 2001 and 2015 Worlds, will use the 2012 Olympic Stadium.

Bid leader Sebastian Coe said: "This bid has been developed by athletes and athletics, for athletes and athletics."

He added: "We believe 2017 will cement the clear, unambiguous vision we offered the world in 2005 [when London was awarded the 2012 Olympics], a vision that promised a real legacy through unprecedented levels of investment in our new national stadium.

"This is the natural continuation of the work being done on 2012."

UK Athletics boss and bid chairman Ed Warner revealed that the budget for the championships would now cover the £5m prize fund as Doha offered to do.


  • The Olympic Stadium (capacity 60,000) has been built and the running track is part of its 99-year lease
  • The proposed date of late July or early August avoids clashes with European and American football
  • The stadium is likely to be sold out for every session
  • London's cultural diversity


Warner said: "I'm not a veteran of bids but people tell me always keep a late reveal.

"We planned it for some time. There was no knee-jerk reaction."

World youth champion sprinter Jodie Williams, 18, and Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Denise Lewis made the final presentations to the IAAF.

Williams, who will be 23 in 2017, stressed her "ultimate dream" is to compete for a senior world title in front of a home crowd.

A message of support from Prime Minister David Cameron was also played to the council.

British athletes and politicians have welcomed the decision, with World, European and Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene admitting he "had a huge smile" on his face.

London had been set to host the 2005 championships after they were originally awarded to the city.

However, after plans to build a 43,000-capacity stadium at Picketts Lock in the north of the city were abandoned as too expensive, a UK Athletics suggestion that the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield be used instead was rejected by the IAAF.

The championships were awarded to Helsinki, which hosted the first event in 1983.

....Boris Johnson hailed the decision at a news conference in which he answered one question in French.


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15/1/2011 Last updated15/1/2011;11/11/11