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Feb 22, 2012

Olympic Stadium pitch to be replaced

The pitch at London's Olympic Stadium will need to be replaced at a cost of around £2 million after the Games because it does not match up to Premier League standards.

The stadium, which has cost £486 million, has been built without the under-soil heating required to showcase top flight matches. Now the Olympic Park Legacy Company will have to foot the bill as it remains in public ownership.

"The Olympic Stadium is a white elephant and they now have to spend money to stop it being a white elephant," London Assembly member Andrew Boff told AP. "The problem here is the stadium was never designed for football. We've seen the results of really bad planning; really shockingly, awful decisions made during the planning stage before the OPLC was around. They have been handed a real mess to sort out."

Premier League rules state that a club must have "an under-soil heating system or some adequate system of pitch protection to the reasonable satisfaction of the board" and a reported £35 million has already been put aside for the stadium to be downgraded from an 80,000 to a 60,000-seat facility after the Games.

"It is a mess, the stadium, because it's a stadium designed with an athletics legacy that they are trying to shoehorn football into," Boff added. "I would not think a Premier League team would want anything other than a stadium designed for football.

"A Premier League team cannot survive in the Olympics Stadium as it is. They decided too late to invite bids from football clubs. They are trying to cobble together a legacy when they should have planned it years ago."

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