MADRID: Atletico de Madrid have insisted that its new stadium project remains unaffected by the Spanish city’s Olympic disappointment.Madrid’s third consecutive tilt at the Olympic Games ended in defeat on Saturday as it exited at the first round of International Olympic Committee voting before Tokyo went on to secure the 2020 Games ahead of Istanbul.

In December 2011, Atletico revealed plans for a new 70,000-seat stadium that will replace its Vicente Calderon home and the venue was set to play a key role in a Madrid-based Olympic Games. Despite the IOC’s verdict, club president Enrique Cerezo said: “Our plans regarding the stadium go ahead and we hope to soon be able to enjoy it.”

Club ceo Miguel Angel Gil added: “It is a sad day for the Spanish, for the athletes and above all, for all the members of the Olympic bid who have dedicated time (to the effort). It is a decision that directly affects us, due to the fact that the heart of the Olympic Games was to be held in our stadium, which had given Atletico significant value.”

The Calderon has been the home of Atletico club since 1966 and was renovated ahead of Spain’s staging of the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

It has a capacity of 55,000 but Atletico have a long season-ticket waiting list and feel constrained by the relative lack of space.

Gil said the new stadium would remain the venue of athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies should Madrid decide to pursue a bid for the 2024 Olympics. In terms of construction, he added: “The International Olympic Committee’s decision does not affect anything. Construction is planned to end on the same day, during the season 2015-16.”

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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