MONACO -- IAAF senior vice president and IOC member Sergei Bubka says London organizers should be faithful to their promise that the running track will remain in the Olympic stadium after the 2012 Games.
Premier League clubs Tottenham and West Ham were selected this month as the final bidders to take over the facility after the games. Tottenham's application with American sports and entertainment giant AEG involves removing the track from the stadium.
"We had a gentlemen's agreement, we shook hands and we had a deal," Bubka said Saturday at an IAAF council meeting. "In 2005 in Singapore when they were awarded the games, it was guaranteed to us the track would remain. I would say this is now a matter of dignity."
The Olympic Park Legacy Company said a deal will be completed with one of the London rivals by March 31.
The legacy company previously said it wanted a commitment to keep the stadium running track as part of any bid, but this month's announcement said the requirement could be waived for "a credible alternative."
Uncertainty over whether the track will be retained at the London stadium led the British government and UK Athletics to withdraw London's bid to host the 2015 worlds, which were awarded to Beijing on Saturday.
Bubka said he received more guarantees the track will remain during a three-day inspection visit in September before London withdrew its bid. London is bidding for the 2017 track world championships.
"I was the chairman of the evaluation commission for London and Beijing 2015 and they told us the track would remain, I saw it written in documents," said an angry Bubka. "The United Kingdom has an unbelievable story of athletics (feats) and I can't believe we are talking about such a thing."
The stadium will have an 80,000-seat capacity for the Olympics, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics.
It was originally designed to be reduced to 25,000 seats after the Olympics, but the bids by the Premier League clubs would mean a capacity of around 60,000. The stadium is also part of England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Bubka said the track wouldn't be a problem for soccer fans and said the 2006 World Cup in Berlin's Olympic Stadium "was an unbelievable success" despite the track surrounding the field.
"When you are bidding for the games, the legacy is a very important point," Bubka said. "I can't understand they have a problem with the track. They can reduce capacity and continue to have athletics competitions in the stadium. This will be a unique legacy and it's needed in a big capital."
Lamine Diack, the president of athletics' governing body, told The Associated Press he can't believe the possibility of removing the track from the stadium was taken into account.
"It goes beyond reason," Diack said. "They have to keep their promise and keep the track. They can't do this just because of football. Both sports can live together in the same stadium."
The head of the London 2012 organizing committee, Sebastian Coe, said he couldn't comment on the matter as long as a deal has not been reached with one of the bidders.
"This is not a subject of a debate," Coe said.
Bubka said the Olympic Park Legacy Company should not put money first and think about the "health of the nation" when it will make its decision.
"We are now bargaining for a couple of millions," said Bubka, a pole vault world-record holder. "I understand money is important, but this is more important than business. This is for the people, for future, this is about giving a chance to youngsters to have a healthy lifestyle."
Bubka said other IAAF and IOC members share his views. He added he will speak with Coe to try to convince him.