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West Ham get stadium warning

Espanyol chief Joan Collet has warned English Premier League club West Ham of the dangers of moving to a stadium with an athletics track.

The London club is in prime position to be handed the keys to London’s Olympic Stadium post 2012 ahead of Premier League rivals Tottenham after receiving the backing of the Olympic Park Legacy Committee.

The main point of difference between the two bids is West Ham’s intention to maintain the athletics track at the stadium, with Spurs to develop the site as a purpose-built football arena.

Collet’s club inherited the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona following the 1992 Olympic Games and played there for 13 years before moving to their purpose-built Estadi Cornella-El Prat home.

The Espanyol chief executive officer said his club suffered at the Olympic venue due to a lack of atmosphere in La Liga clashes.

“We felt comfortable playing at the Olympic Stadium because we considered it as home but the football environment was nothing like our current pitch,” Collet said.

“There was an athletics track, the environment was much colder. The distance between the players and spectators was a lot bigger. As I have had the luck to speak to players about this, I can tell you that they said they felt a little lonely when playing in that stadium.”

“The atmosphere had to be really vibrant in order for it to be enough to reach the centre of the pitch and for the players to notice it.”

“Unlike that situation, in our new stadium there is an immediate great atmosphere. You can feel football, people are close to players, people are close to the pitch and for us has been really positive. I can only wish that it will be the same for West Ham.”

West Ham are in line to inherit the stadium shortly after the London Games end in August 2012.

Article title: West Ham get stadium warning

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