Sports

Government will not intervene in threat to relocate athletics from London Stadium

In 2013, a 50-year deal was signed for athletics to take place in a one-month slot every year amid West Ham’s lease of the stadium. But initial talks have been held between the stadium owners and UK Athletics over a possible move away from the venue under UKA’s new hierarchy.

Speaking at the Queen Elizabeth Park on Monday, sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “I’ve seen the speculation but nothing’s come across my desk. It’s unlikely we’d intervene on anything like that.

“Government gets involved in a lot of things and sometimes needs sports to make their own decisions. I would want them to work together and make sensible decisions.”

Despite the threat of elite athletics potentially leaving the capital – Birmingham’s revamped Alexander Stadium would be a prospective new home – Huddleston insisted the Olympic Park remained a key legacy of London 2012.

“One of the legacies of the Queen Elizabeth Park is that it’s multi-sport and that’s great,” he said. “No matter what, this is a multi-sport venue.”

Huddleston was speaking at Lee Valley Velopark in London’s role in this summer’s Commonwealth Games when it will host the track cycling for Birmingham 2022.

“Yes, it’s Birmingham 2022 but it’s something that London and the whole country can celebrate and get behind,” he said. “We’re learning from London 2012 with a real focus on legacy.”

The Government has adopted what it calls a “London plus” philosophy towards bidding for sporting events going forward, notably with a cross-UK bid for Euro 2028.

Huddleston said: “We need to make sure to use London as the global magnet because people want to host events here. We need to make sure we spread the love across the whole of the United Kingdom.”

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