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Stratford move ruled out

Filed: Saturday, 4th November 2006
By: Matthew O'Greel

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell has put the blocks on West Ham's proposed move to Stratford.

The Government minister suprised all by announcing that the Olympic Stadium will only be considered for athletics once the 2012 London games are complete.

West Ham had hoped to take over the stadium - which is to be built on the Olympic site five miles from Upton Park - and have been in discussions with sports minister Richard Cabourn for some considerable time.

But Jowell appeared to put an end to negotiations yesterday when she told the Sunday Telegraph:

"I want to be absolutely clear about this. The decision by the Olympic board is that the legacy use will be for athletics.

"What is also clear is that when we were going through the first stage of the cost review and looking at the various options on legacy costs, we discovered that football would actually be much more expensive because we are absolutely bound to provide an athletics legacy. Running a parallel procurement is very, very expensive.

"Not only are we bound by what we were told by the IOC but we are bound by a belief in the importance of there being an athletics legacy. So football was really knocked out at that point."

Another Government source is quoted criticising Cabourn for his desire to push through a football solution for the stadium; they added:

"I don't know why but Caborn seems to be pushing the football option while everyone else is very anti. I don't know why he is so stuck on the football issue.

"We are at the design stage for the main stadium now and this is just ludicrous. Caborn is rowing a boat against a stream here."

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