A national sports medicine centre at the heart of plans for a lasting health legacy from the 2012 Olympics may never be built, HSJ has learned.

The Department of Health has pledged repeatedly that the centre will be built to promote sports education and research and provide rehabilitation facilities. It was to be a centre of excellence for sports and exercise medicine, hosting training placements for doctors.

A 2005 DH press release said the centre "would have been developed regardless of the outcome of the Olympic bid".

The promise was repeated in chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson's annual reports published in 2005 and 2006, but was absent from last year's report.

Sir Liam's 2006 report said: "The centre will not only be used by the world's top athletes but will also be extended to local NHS and primary care facilities, providing services for anyone who plays sport and supporting the goal of increasing physical activity."

Responsibility for the plans shifted to the British Olympic Association, then UK Sport, and now to the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport.

A UK Sport spokesman said there were "no firm proposals" to build a national centre for sports medicine. A Department for Culture, Media, and Sport spokeswoman said the centre was only "one of the options being looked at".

A source close to the 2012 bid said this meant "we're not going to get the best out of the Olympics".

The news follows the warning from NHS London that its 2012 group faced "insufficient resourcing".