Talking Point

In March 2013 West Ham Joint Chairman David Gold was quoted as saying about the Olympic Stadium bidding “We will only go there if it is fit for use. I won’t go there if I have to look over a running track”

A new image has emerged showing the majority of the running track at the transformed Olympic Stadium will remain between the crowd and the football pitch even with retractable seating fully deployed.The image below was uncovered by Ali Worth after she reviewed thousands of pages publicly available planning permission documents.

Although the retractable seating will bring fans closer to the action it clearly shows much of the running track (shown as white lines) remains between the fans and the pitch on the east and west sides of the stadium. It appears many fans on both sides will in fact be looking over a running track after all although the visible parts of the running track shown as white lines on the diagram below will be hidden by a green artificial grass carpet on the 25 days it is in football mode. As we know the running track is 9 metres wide so we know the gap between the front row and the the pitch will be in excess of 9 metres at the half way line.

Although I have been openly pro Olympic Stadium from day one I thought I would share this information in the spirit of transparency to all fans regardless of your views on the impending move to the Olympic Stadium. It could probably be equally argued that you could squeeze in a running track between the current East stand and the pitch at the Boleyn ground. Whether this actual means anything or is just a technicality is up to you to decide. It does highlight we will not be on top of the pitch which has been claimed by some over eager marketing people in the run up to the decision to move.

A higher definition version of the diagram can be downloaded from HERE

This is what the final plannings documents published March 2013 say about the running track and the pitch.

The Stadium field of play is proposed to be retained in its athletics capability with the ability to host the IAAF Category 1 Athletics Events and the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships..The layout of the running track will be similar, but has been designed to enable a multi-purpose use of the Stadium.The field of play has been reduced in length by approximately 2.5m, (192.5m long) but remains at the same width (138.5m wide). There is no change to the track size (400m track is 180m long by 9m wide). The grassed infield area is proposed to be 120m long by 72.3m wide. The size of the athletics field of play allows the possibility to overlay the track and jump pits with a
temporary grass and artificial turf surfacing for other sports. The field of play layout is designed with the flexibility (using overlay where required) to host a number of different sports including football, rugby, American football, baseball and cricket, as well as the ability to hold concerts and other community and cultural events. Only minor and
temporary changes to the field of play would be required for these events.

The seating bowl design has been amended to incorporate a retractable and re-locatable seating solution to the lower tier which gives better proximity to the Field of Play for pitch sports. This will be the first retractable seating tiers in the UK, and it will allow for a fast transformation between athletics and pitch sports. It will also provide for excellent viewing during pitch sports. When in pitch sport mode the lower seating tiers will be moved away from the existing podium and concourse area that will contain the spectator facilities and bridges will be installed to connect the seating tiers to the concourse.

A new permanent mid-tier is proposed on the West Stand in order for spectators to gain a view over the pitch-sport position of the western lower tier, as the sightlines from the existing midtier are obscured by it. Additional demountable seating is proposed behind the lower tier on the eastern side of the Stadium.In reconfiguring the seating arrangement in the lower tiers and in the new mid tier on the West Stand, existing seats will be reused and repositioned, and some new seats will be procured to the same specification.