Despite putting on a superb Olympic and Paralympic Games London is left with some severe egg on its face following the Games.
The athletics stadium which took three years to build is now incredibly going to take more than three years to alter it into a multi-purpose stadium in order to have more public use post Games. Understandably questions are being asked at all levels as to how this can be the case. The London Legacy Development Corporation are now in the firing line having failed to allay fears that the stadium conversion will be completed by 2017 for Great Britain to host the World Athletics Championships.
The British Government is legally committed and a failure to deliver this event will result in not only financial cost but massive embarrassment for this proud nation, so soon after a successful Olympic Games.
West Ham United who are looking to move into the stadium have apparently offered a final ‘take it or leave it offer’ which many believe will be left as financially to accept it will mean the public will have to pick up a multi million shortfall. The trouble is if West Ham do not move in as tenants who will?
One man who is saying “I told you so” is Labour Sports Minister Richard Caborn, who was part of the London 2012 bidding team and argued at that time for retractable seating to be factored into the plans, as he believed that not having a Premier League football team in the stadium post Olympics would make the venue unsustainable.
It is to be hoped that the stadium taskforce in Perth are watching these events unfold, and they do not make similar mistakes, when the much talked about multi-purpose stadium is built for AFL.
It is somewhat Ironic to be writing this piece on the 50th anniversary of the Perth British Empire and Commonwealth Games commencing in 1962, as Perry Lakes stadium was built by the Federal Government of the day and was to be ‘a legacy to the people of Western Australia.’ Yet successive governments failed to budget for the stadium’s upkeep, as Athletics was not deemed a mainstream sport, and the venue finally crumbled into a relic and was demolished eighteen months ago to make way for a housing estate. Why is it we continually elect politicians around the world who fail to take responsibility of such massive investments and ensure the public a return on them? Fifty years on and it is still happening.