Responding to the news that Villa Park, has been withdrawn as a venue for the 2012 Olympic football tournament, Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby said: “We are disappointed to hear this news and hope that Aston Villa can still be part of the 2012 Olympic Games, and that the parties concerned will find a way to provide Olympic football in the West Midlands.
“Birmingham City Council and its partners have put many measures in place to maximise the benefits of the 2012 Olympics to the city and the region. These include: promoting opportunities for business to win contracts for 2012; attracting high profile teams and countries to hold training camps here, in an effort to forge greater business and cultural links across the world; and develop facility plans to create a real legacy from the games.
“The Olympic Games are a once in a lifetime opportunity and Birmingham City Council will continue where possible, to maximise the economic benefits and inspire more residents to participate in sport and physical activity.”
Villa’s withdrawal comes because the club have decided to press ahead with plans for major construction work.
A statement from Locog, the London 2012 organising committee, said: “It has been agreed with Aston Villa that because they are unable to make firm commitments to the project, the best course of action is for Villa Park to be withdrawn as an Olympic venue.
“Locog is grateful to Aston Villa for its support to date, and is continuing with its planning in order to deliver a first-class Olympic football tournament. It is looking at options for replacing Villa Park.”