West Ham United is the official winner of the bid for the London Olympics Stadium Complex in stratford, according ot a consensus of the Stadium Managing Organisation.
The top London Club is to move into the Olympic Stadium after the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) announced on Friday after it had been rumored for weeks that Hammers would come on top of the bidding ahead of Tottenham.
A consensus by Olympic Park Legacy Company executive was said to be supporting the Hammers bid because both parties were in agreement with all the conditions of the new occupation which included variety of activities taking place in the ultra Modern Stadium complex.
With the official announcement made on Friday, the government and London’s mayor will take a final decision though it is hoped the final action would back the OPLC’s recommendation.”
“It would be a surprise if ministers and the mayor, Boris Johnson, overturn the recommendation of OPLC executives, who have spent the last few months discussing the various plans with both clubs in detail, when they reveal their decision in the coming weeks, thr body’s recommendation had said.
Reacting to the decision, Olympian javelin thrower Steve Backley said: “West Ham was the only real option.
“It was the only really viable bid that satisfied all the criteria.
“The Tottenham bid would have involved removing the running track which just wasn’t an option.”
But Lord Sugar, former chairman of Spurs, said: “It’s totally flawed – it will be a white elephant.
“It will be a disaster for the taxpayer and we’ll end up having a mothballed Olympic village.
“The Tottenham proposal is for an iconic anchor centrepiece.”
West Ham are happy for the athletics track to be kept in the stadium and for the venue to be used for a variety of sports and concerts.
Tottenham’s plans were to dismantle the stadium in Stratford and build a new football ground in its place.
The Spurs proposal has faced huge criticism from the athletics world, MPs and the public.
A recent BBC London poll suggested 81% of Londoners were against the proposals to rip up the athletics track.
However, the Hammers were officially named as the preferred bidder for the showpiece £537m venue ahead of London Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
OPLC chair Baroness Ford said the board had considered really carefully and come to a unanimous decision that West Ham United, in the London borough of Newham, should be the long-term tenant.
She said it was a “cracking decision for the community of east London”.
The unanimous decision was made after a vote by 14 members of the OPLC board at a special meeting where the future of the venue in Stratford, east London, was the only topic.
The meeting started at 8am and the announcement was made soon after it ended just after 12.20pm.
The decision still has to be rubber-stamped by the government and the London mayor’s office, but it would be a major surprise if it was not accepted.
West Ham’s success, even in the face of relegation, means an athletics track will stay inside the stadium.
The club, in a joint bid with Newham LBC, wants to convert the 80,000-seater stadium into a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use.
West Ham’s success means that ministers and London mayor Boris Johnson, who might have been accused of breaking athletics legacy promises to the International Olympic Committee, have been saved potential embarrassment .
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe was among those calling for the track to be maintained.
Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), has claimed the Olympic Stadium will “go broke in 10 years” if an athletics track is retained.
The OPLC is aiming for a deal to be struck on the stadium and contracts signed by the end of the financial year.
In a joint statement, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and communities secretary Eric Pickles said Friday’s recommendation by the OPLC board marked an important milestone for the future of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the whole of the Olympic project.
“We would like to thank Baroness Ford and all her board members for the conscientious and thorough way they have approached the decision-making process.
“We will look through their recommendation in detail before coming to our own decision. We aim to make a formal announcement to Parliament shortly.”
West Ham had two press releases prepared, depending on whether they won or lost. They need not have worried. The decision was unanimous: West Ham 14 Spurs 0. Minutes later they were hosting a press conference of their own in the shadow of the stadium they will call home from the start of the 2014 season, two years after the Olympics have come and gone. There was some joy.
There was also protocol to be observed. They must still finalise the terms of their proposed move nearly two and- a-half miles from their Upton Park ground.
Questions turned to what guarantees there were about keeping the athletics track. What if in five or 10 years West Ham, maybe under new owners, decide it does not work for them?
Brady explained that they and UK Athletics share a 250-year lease. The track remaining is a binding commitment. Still, one wonders, who can enforce that in the decades ahead?
On Friday, and rightly, the track and field community were taking the promise at face value. Lord Coe, who more than anyone won the Olympics for the city of his birth with the promise to maintain a legacy for his sport when the Games have departed, declared himself ‘delighted’.
He had talked of the country’s sporting reputation being at stake. Keep our promises, he had urged the OPLC, rather than allow Tottenham to pull the stadium down.
One of Britain’s golden hopefuls, triple jumper Phillips Idowu joined in the party. ‘It’s great the West Ham bid has been backed as it was the right one for the future of the stadium and athletics,’ he said.
‘As an east London boy my heart is there, so this is a win for not only our sport and West Ham but also for the people in the area. They can have something to be proud of. I hope that my kids one day get a chance to compete in that stadium.’
Great for athletics, as opposed to staying at Crystal Palace, even one revamped as Spurs had promised.
But for West Ham? For those fans watching their heroes through opera glasses over the running track? They were given hope when Brady ruminated on the idea of fitting retractable seating.
‘It is possible to do,’ she said. ‘We will work with the designers. It’s not as much money as you would think. It’s around 10 per cent of the overall cost (£9.5m of the £95m) to give you a ballpark figure.’
Aware that she was perhaps rushing into a pledge the club might not deliver upon, Brady quickly changed direction. A retractable argument, you might say.
‘The most important thing that will happen is that we will spend £95m to improve the facility and we are looking at different ways to configure the stadium inside and as and when we have something to say we will,’ she added. ‘The most important thing is that it is multipurpose, for athletics, football, cricket and concerts. It configures really well through from 25,000 seats for athletics to 107,000 for major pop concerts, 60,000 for football and 73,000 for cricket.’
Brady was also keen to point out that they can manage the finances whatever league they are in. The £100m they would generate from being in the new stadium and remaining in the Premier League would help them no end.
The sums were looking less propi-tious for Tottenham yesterday. At White Hart Lane they generate £1.5m per game in their 36,000 home. North London rivals Arsenal make £3.5m per game at the 60,000- seat Emirates.
Spurs must now find a profitable solution fast, perhaps by moving to a new site adjacent to their current base if they can strike a deal that improves on the projected cost of £450m.
They might also choose to seek a judicial review to overturn the OPLC decision. Robertson warned against such an act as ‘a big step for a club to resort to’ against the Government.
Spurs did not declare their hand, saying: ‘We shall continue to monitor the bid process until its final determination, while reviewing our position and holding discussions with our advisers.’
Bottom-of-the table West Ham, meanwhile, played at West Bromwich on Saturday. That might prove harder than the victory they were toasting yesterday on the banks of the Lee.
Sources: Mail, BBC.