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South London Harrier vice-president says Diamond League move good for athletics but bad for South London


PETER Emery believes the National Sports Stadium at Crystal Palace needs to find another sport if it's to survive on the back of the annual Diamond League meeting switching to the Olympic Stadium this summer.

Emery, one of the vice-presidents at South London Harriers, says although it will be bad for the local area, it's time for athletics to move after a successful Olympic Games.

"I think it's the right decision for athletics and it's great that such a great, iconic and successful stadium gets a chance to be used again for a major meeting this summer," he told Advertiser Sport.

"It's bad for the local area in south London, but I believe it's good for athletics.

"The Crystal Palace stadium is not on the same standard as the Olympic Stadium, so it needs to find another sport.

"It definitely needs to look for other opportunities beyond athletics, but it's a critical training facility for athletics, but probably less so now for meetings.

"It's sad for Crystal Palace, but looking at the sport as a whole, and trying to get good publicity after the sport, I think it will probably be a better meeting in a bigger stadium with a bigger crowd.

"And more people will get a chance to see our top athletes in action."

Supporters from Crystal Palace Football Club believe they could help rejuvenate and add value to the area if they were to move away from Selhurst Park.

There had been talk of a move to a new ground, but Emery doesn't think it could work and believes it should be kept for athletics primarily with its use for local clubs.

"I think it's a worry for south London as there isn't the capacity for two stadiums in London," he said.

"With the future of the Olympic Stadium a bit uncertain because of West Ham United Football Club's involvement, I think people weren't sure what the long term plans were.

"From a football point of view, it could be a good idea involving Palace, but from an athletics point of view, you would almost certainly have the same problem you have with the Olympic Stadium.

"You would lose a training facility and many athletics clubs do use it three times a week, and if there was a football club there, we would lose that – that would be a shame."

Furthermore, Emery touched upon whether football fans would have the same feeling as they currently do at Selhurst Park, which is being close to action.

"What do you do in terms of how far back the seats are going to be from the edge of the pitch?" he said.

"The problem with new stadia for football is that fans often feel too far away from the pitch, whereas the older grounds like Selhurst Park, there isn't that problem.

"If you were to move fans further back, you have a situation where you're less involved.

"You might have a better view, but less involved with the intimacy of the game."

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