Ed Warner: Commonwealth Games bids should use London Stadium for athletics
The UK Athletics chairman says it is the ideal venue and that hundreds of millions of pounds would be saved if it was used.
Athletics boss Ed Warner believes Liverpool and Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games 2022 bid would be enhanced if they let London host the athletics.
Warner, who will step down from his role as UK Athletics chairman after the 2017 World Championships, claims the London Stadium is the ideal venue and that hundreds of millions of pounds would be saved if it was used for the Commonwealth Games.
“It’s a perfect athletics arena,” Warner told BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek. “Anybody who knows their athletics says ‘wow!’ – the shape, the sight lines.
“If I was the leader of either the Liverpool bid, which is looking to put a temporary track into the home of Everton Football Club, or the Birmingham bid, which is looking to significantly upscale the annex on the stadium, I’d be ringing (London Mayor) Sadiq Khan saying ‘do you know what? Can we have the athletics in London and we’ll do everything else?’
“Why is that? Because the facility is there. I spoke to a civil servant the other day who is heavily involved in this Commonwealth Games bid and he said, and this was his phrase, he was going to be rinsing the Treasury for half a billion pounds to put on an English Commonwealth Games.
“My answer to that is save a load of money, use this amazing facility, the best in the world, and make it an English bid.”
When asked why Liverpool or Birmingham should let London take the blue riband athletics events, Warner said: “Because it’s so expensive to build an athletics facility.
“If you’re in Liverpool just for 10 days of athletics I think it’s money down the drain. The age of austerity people keep talking about, let’s spend our money more wisely.”
Warner said the chances of success for either Liverpool or Birmingham’s bid to stage the 2022 Commonwealth Games would improve significantly if they included London Stadium as their athletics venue.
“I think it would knockout the other one,” he added. “I think the two of them should be moving pretty swiftly to make that call because maybe the first one to make the call gets in the box-seat and has the knockout bid.”
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