Beijing will host the IAAF World Championships in 2015 after UKA retract London’s bid
UKA had been awaiting the IAAF’s decision, which was due to be made on November 20. With Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympics, as the only other candidate, it means the Chinese capital is now guaranteed to be awarded the global event after UKA’s withdrawal.
It is believed that UKA succumbed to legal pressure placed on them by Tottenham Hotspur and American venue operator AEG, as they hope to become the main tenants of the 2012 Olympic stadium after the London Games. The plans of the Tottenham-AEG consortium include the removal of the athletics track, despite Lord Sebastian Coe’s insistence that the track will remain as part of the athletics legacy of the London 2012 Games.
A bid to stage the IAAF World Championships could have changed the ground rules for the tender process, which is believed to already be at an advanced stage.
It is the second time within a decade that the UK has had to withdraw a bid to host the IAAF World Championships. In 2001 the British government abandoned their support for London’s 2005 World Championships bid on the grounds of increased costs and inadequate transportation links.
Now UKA has announced that they will instead bid to host the 2017 IAAF World Championships. “Obviously we are disappointed not to be pursuing our 2015 bid especially after securing the support of both the government and the Mayor of London,” said UKA chairman Ed Warner. “However, we need to present the IAAF with a bid that is free of any uncertainties.
“That is not something we can commit to until the process regarding the future of the Stadium, which we fully support, is concluded. Our bid is, in my option, an excellent one and one that can deliver an outstanding championships for the IAAF. That fact remains.”
Despite this latest episode, IAAF president Lamine Diack remained supportive about a potential World Championships in London. “We fully understand and respect the reasons for UKA moving their bid from 2015 to 2017,” he said. “We are delighted that London are still in the race.”