By Duncan Mackay in London


November 25 - Sir Craig Reedie (pictured), a former President of the International Badminton Federation (IBF) and member of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board, has urged the sport to accept the proposal for it to be relocated to Wembley Arena when London hosts the 2012 Olympics.


Badminton is currently resisting plans to move it - along with rhythmic gymnastics - from a purpose-built £40 million arena in Greenwich to the venue in North West London because of fears over travel time from the Olympic Village.


Paul Deighton, the chief executive of London 2012, claimed earlier this month that the journey time will be 42 minutes and that they cannot justify spending so much money on a temporary venue in the current economic climate.


He has been supported by Sir Craig, President of the IBF between 1981 and 1984 when he led the succsseful campaign for the sport's inclusion in the Olympics.


It made its debut at the Barcelona Games in 1992. 


Sir Craig told insidethegames: "As far as I'm concerned, I accept the economic realities in London.


"I hope LOCOG will be able to discuss and negotiate properly with the two international federations and make sure that they are happy with what the plans are.


"As far as badminton is concerned, Wembley Arena is, I think, perfectly acceptable.


"The Arena has got these wonderful transport links to the football stadium.


"I think the spectator experience is fine.


"What LOCOG must do is satisfy the federations that the athlete experience will be fine.


"If that can be done, I hope the [sport] will agree to it and they get on with planning the event because it should be good."


The matter will be top of the agenda when the IOC Coordination Commission begins its fifth visit to the capital today to inspect progress on London 2012.


Denis Oswald, the Commission's chairman, warned last month that he was concerned at the delay in finalising the venues and that he wanted to reach a solution during this two-day visit.


But the Badminton World Federation (BWF), the name the sport's governing body adopted in 2006, have said that they will not make a decision about whether to accept the move to Wembley before Friday when its ruling Council meets in Bali.


The BWF's chief operating officer Thomas Lund said: "We have still not made a decision.


"We are having a Council session this week with a meeting on Friday at which a final decision - if there is one - will be taken.


"Travel times from the [Olympic] Village are definitely one of the concerns and one of the key issues to be discussed."

Sir Craig, who played a leading role in Britain being awarded the Games in 2005, helping draw up the master-plan, believes that the travel time from the Village in East London to Wembley is fair on the athletes and that the Arena will provide an iconic venue for the sport.


He said: "I think that's acceptable.


"Wembley was the home of English badminton for years and years and years."


Wembley Arena was built in 1934 for the Empire Games and became famous as a music venue, staging sell-out concerts featuring groups such as ABBA and the Rolling Stones.


It also hosted the All-England Badminton Championships, the sport's major annual event, between 1957 and 1993 before it moved to the National Indoor Arena at Birmingham.


The BWF had already awarded the venue the 2011 World Championships before the current row erupted.


Sir Craig said: "It seems to me if the international federation is going there for a World Championships in 2011 it might make it easier for them to understand the venue and make full and accurate use of it during the Games in 2012."


London 2012 say they remain in talks with badminton and rhythmic gymnastics.


A London 2012 spokeswoman said: "We agreed with IOC we would update them at the Coordination Commission and we would want to have this finalised to be presented to the Executive Board in the second week of December.


"We are in discussion with both sports and hope to have the situation finalised shortly."


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