Track stays no matter what, says Robertson

SPORTS Minister Hugh Robertson has confirmed the government has made a “cast-iron guarantee” that the Olympic Stadium’s running track will remain in place regardless of ongoing legal wrangling.

The pledge was made to an International Athletics Federation (IAAF) delegation which yesterday completed a short visit to evaluate London’s bid to host the 2017 World Championship.

The future of the venue remains in some doubt, however, with just a fortnight until the High Court is set to hear a judicial review of the decision to award the stadium to West Ham football club post-London 2012.

West Ham have promised to retain the track, but rival bidders Tottenham have consistently said they would remove it and house athletics elsewhere.

Robertson revealed the government had offered assurances over the stadium to Bob Hersh, the IAAF senior vice-president who led the visiting delegation.

“We had a private meeting with Bob Hersh where we gave him a letter from the Treasury Solicitor, the highest government lawyer, to guarantee that there will be a running track at the Olympic Stadium in legacy mode,” he said, before dismissing Tottenham’s chances of moving in. “If they were to win in the High Court we would simply start the whole process again and next time around the provision of a track would be non-negotiable.”

London is vying with Doha to host the 2017 World Championships. Tottenham have been offered a £17m public funding package towards the cost of building a new stadium in north London if they drop their legal challenge.