Olympic chairman says replacing stadium to house football club in legacy would "not be sensible"
John Armitt has effectively ruled out the demolition of the Olympic Stadium after the Games finish, saying such an action "would not be sensible".
Responding to reports that HOK Sport's stadium would have to be demolished to make way for a purpose-built Premiership football club, the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority said it would remain an athletics stadium in legacy.
Speaking during an Olympic event at the Conservative Party Conference, he said: "There is no prospect of it becoming a Premiership club unless we wanted to knock it down, and fail to keep our obligations to the International Olympics Committee."
Armitt said that discussions with Premiership clubs, thought to include West Ham United, were "effectively over." The ODA's intention, he said, was still to build a stadium with a legacy use for British athletes. He added: "The prospect of demolishing something built on such a scale would not be sensible."
Armitt also said the government would hope to reap increased revenue from the Olympic Athletes Village if it was forced to end up paying more for it than originally anticipated – but did not expect to receive it for years after the Games end.
He said: "We will be due to participate in revenue from the sales of the Village's residential units, but of course it depends on when that will be. The more we are helping to fund, the more we would hope to participate in the revenue, but it's important to understand that that might be some years after the Games end."
The ODA chairman admitted last week that the global financial crisis was affecting negotiations with developer Lend Lease on funding for the Athletes Village.
During today's event, he said: "It's a cash flow issue, fundamentally. Banks are unwilling to lend to us, as they are to everyone else. We hope to overcome these issues over the next few months and are confident we will have an agreement by Christmas."