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Seating design sank Wembley athletics track

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CULTURE SECRETARY Chris Smith scrapped plans to include an athletics track in the redeveloped Wembley stadium after the British Olympic Association criticised the seating design, MPs heard on Tuesday.

The Commons culture media and sport committee heard that BOA objected to plans to cram extra seating into the lower tier of the stadium to bump up capacity for athletics events.

The original Sir Norman Foster-designed plan was for a 90,000 capacity structure for football matches. This would fall to 67,000 for athletics events as parts of the lower seating tier were covered by a 6m high temporary platform supporting a track (NCE 18 November).

But just before Christmas, culture secretary Chris Smith announced that the stadium would be redeveloped as a football and rugby only venue on the grounds that the athletics configuration failed to give value for money. Evidence presented to the committee by BOA and chief executive SimonClegg and chairman Craig Reedie stated that sight lines for athletics seating were unsatisfactory as spectators in the lower tiers would be unable to see the running track properly.

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