UK ATHLETICS has this week given its backing to Foster and Partners’ design for the £475m National Stadium at Wembley.
The developer, Wembley National Stadium, has reached an agreement with UK Athletics, which advises the government on the sport, that the Foster and Partners/HOK+Lobb design can accommodate world-class athletics events as well as football.
The two have agreed that the stadium will be built in athletics mode with a temporary track over the football pitch. This would allow it to be the centrepiece of a bid for the 2005 Athletics World Championships.
A spokesman for Wembley National Stadium said the proposal, which was submitted to culture secretary Chris Smith on Wednesday, would give the stadium a capacity of 80 000 in athletics mode – enough to host the Olympic Games.
The proposal also includes a permanent warm-up track on the Wembley site. This would provide the athletics “legacy” to the nation required by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
The spokesman said Smith asked the Wembley design team to respond to criticisms made by US architect Ellerbe Beckett in a report commissioned by the DCMS.
The report said the stadium design was unsuitable for world-class athletics. Smith gave the Wembley team two weeks to respond.
The DCMS said Smith was now considering the proposal and is likely to make a decision before Christmas.
David Moorcroft, chief executive of UK Athletics, said: “UK Athletics technical staff have been working with Wembley for some time to ensure that the new stadium is suitable for athletics.
“We are as convinced as ever that the new Wembley will provide a great home for flagship athletics events. I am aware of no technical reasons to prevent Wembley from hosting athletics.”