Stadium row has gone on too long, Boris

John Inverdale
THE rage has abated but the anger inside still burns after the announcement last week that it might take until after the Games of Rio in 2016 for the Olympic Stadium to be operational, under whatever guise. This is depressing, outrageous, scandalous, shameful.

The “told you so” brigade who were silenced so magnificently in the summer have now found their voice again. “I told you there’d be no legacy.” “I told you it would be a white elephant.”

So Boris, now is the time if ever there was one, to show a bit of statesmanship and force the issues to a head. Some wishy-washy comments last week showed alarming evidence that your enthusiasm for all things Olympic might be on the wane, with your eye perhaps moving on to other greater personal ambitions. You and probably only you, can drive this impasse to a solution before a moribund stadium stands as a complete betrayal of what our most golden of summers has stood for.

The arguments about its future have not changed for months, even years. The Olympic Park will be a wonderful open space for public recreation, with the swimming pool resonating endlessly to the sounds of a thousand screeching children, many of whom will doubtless become Olympians in the future.

But at its heart sits the setting for all those joyous ceremonies and unforgettable drama. A stadium that should be alive to the sound of sport as often and as soon as possible. Not sitting waiting for a tenant like a dilapidated tenement in Hackney. We’ve heard all the arguments a million times about whether West Ham should move in, and what happens to the World Athletics Championships in 2017.

The fact remains there is nothing new to say, and how dare all the “stakeholders” allow this farce to drag on any longer.

So Mr Mayor, please call a summit of all parties. At the Guildhall. In a pub. Anywhere. And throw away the key. And don’t let anybody out until you have reached an agreement that won’t please everyone, but which will at least ensure that new life is breathed into a stadium into which we all made such a huge emotional investment. We need a decision. Right or wrong. But we need it soon.