Levy: Stadium decision must be head over heart

TOTTENHAM chairman Daniel Levy has urged London 2012 legacy chiefs to ignore “emotive” rhetoric and focus on facts as they prepare to decide between bids from Spurs and West Ham for the Olympic Stadium.

Levy spoke out yesterday as West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady compared Tottenham’s proposals to bulldozing 100 primary schools, and Lord Coe warned that Britain’s international reputation would be “trashed” if Spurs were allowed to move into the venue after next year’s Games.

“Strip out the emotion, take a step back and ask what’s best for athletics,” said Levy. “It’s surely to have a dedicated facility that’s available all year round rather than 20 days a year.

“There are all these emotive words being used. Let’s deal with fact rather than emotion. This word ‘promise’ that has been used is such an emotive word.”

West Ham intend to retain the running track if they move into the £537m stadium, thereby fulfilling the promise of an athletics legacy for east London made by Coe when he and his team bid for the capital to host the Games.

Tottenham, who plan to demolish and rebuild the Olympic Stadium without a track, propose to deliver the legacy by redeveloping the run-down facilities at Crystal Palace instead.

Brady (below) criticised her Premier League rivals’ ambitions, saying: “It’s such a crying shame that it [the stadium] has been built on the back of a promise made in the Queen’s name, and is then going to be pulled down.

“And Spurs’ bid frankly is equivalent to building 100 new primary schools and then bulldozing each and every one of them just four weeks after they’ve been built. I just fundamentally don’t believe in that.”

Coe (above), who led the delegation in Singapore six years ago that successfully argued for London to stage the Games, said Britain had “a moral obligation” to adhere to their bid manifesto.

“I just find it inconceivable that grandparents are going to take children back to possibly a Premier League football ground, amongst the tier of sponsorship boxes, and say, ‘Actually somewhere in all this lies dormant the memories of Usain Bolt or Jessica Ennis’.

“It is the legacy we took to Singapore and I really think we have to be very, very careful about how we are prepared to potentially trash our international reputation here.”

The Olympic Park Legacy Company is expected to decide between the two bidders when its board meets on Friday and Levy responded: “I don’t buy the argument of having somewhere to take your grandchild to reminisce on London 2012, what I buy is a dedicated facility which will always be the home of athletics.”