West Ham stadium bid backed

LONDON - West Ham United's plan to move in to the 2012 Olympic Stadium received a boost on Monday when UK Athletics announced its formal support for the football club's joint bid with the local Newham Council.

The stadium's future beyond the Games has long been a talking point as potential football club tenants have been put off by organisers' commitment to keeping an athletics track at the venue.

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"What has impressed me so much about the joint bid from West Ham and Newham is their clear commitment to the spirit of the Olympic legacy and not just athletics at the elite end but, with the retention of the community track, our future champions and club runners too," UK Athletics (UKA) chairman Ed Warner said in a statement.

"It was clear from the start that only a partnership approach would bring to life the vision (Games chief) Seb Coe had when he committed to an athletics legacy in 2005 and we believe the collaboration of West Ham, Newham and UKA gives the strongest opportunity for a vibrant sporting legacy that will go well beyond 2012.

"The team at West Ham have also been keen to support our bid to host the World Athletics Championships in 2015 at the stadium, fully understanding that a significant international event will play a major part in realising their ambition of a British sporting hub.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady said: "This is fantastic news. We believe ours is the only bid that can deliver London's legacy commitment to the International Olympic Committee.

"We want to create a home of sport, featuring two of the greatest sports, football and athletics, side by side where they can grow and flourish together both in terms of spectatorship and participation at every level."