London`s 2017 worlds bid dead without stadium

Daegu: London`s chances of hosting the 2017 athletics world championships are dead if it does not retain the 2012 Olympic Stadium for athletics, the president of the sport`s global governing body said on Saturday.

"If they have no stadium, they have no chance," International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) president Lamine Diack said in an interview at the Daegu world championships.

"We are not going to organise a championships in Crystal Palace," Diack said of the current home of London`s major athletics events in the south of the city.

The British capital is battling Doha and Barcelona for the host rights to the 2017 championships.

The winner will be determined by the IAAF Council during its November meeting in Monaco.

This year`s championships end on Sunday in Daegu with Moscow and Beijing following in 2013 and 2015.

London could have hosted the world championships in 2005 but in PR blunder was forced to give up the opportunity to Helsinki when a new stadium was deemed too expensive.

This year`s bid has been clouded by a row over the Olympic Stadium, with Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur seeking a judicial review of the decision to allow West Ham United to take over the facility after next year`s Games.

West Ham has said it would retain athletics in the stadium.

"Somebody said that a stadium with 40,000-50,000 (capacity) with athletics in London is a white elephant," Diack said.

But he pointed out that a 60,000 seat stadium in his hometown of Dakar has found multiple use including athletics and soccer.

"I think if a small country like Senegal can have this, I don`t think you can say London having a stadium with a track is a white elephant."

Diack, 78, said he dreamed of Britain holding a world championships at some future date.

He made clear, though, the sport`s biggest show outside the Olympics would not be going to an ageing facility like Crystal Palace.

"It is not the place to organise a world championships," said the recently reelected IAAF president.

"We had the World Cup (of Athletics) there in 1994. It was not good. It was very difficult to find the place."

Bureau Report

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