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Football | Premier League

Hammers want Olympic Stadium

West Ham United is the first-ranked bidder to develop the 2012 Olympic Stadium, London Mayor Boris Johnson told reporters on Wednesday (December 6).

Johnson spoke after a meeting of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) which is coordinating the leasing and development of Olympic venues after the Games.

"We have got a first-ranked bidder for the stadium," Johnson told reporters afterwards. "Four good bids came in as everybody knows but the bid that has been ranked top is West Ham United and I am very pleased about that. It will, if it goes through, mean a football legacy for the stadium but it needs to be sorted out."

Giving the Olympic Stadium a profitable future as a venue is a test of the LLDC's work. The London Games were won with a clear statement that Olympic venues were designed to be used fully after the Games were over, but the stipulation that the athletics track had to be available for international meetings while the infield was used for soccer matches has been seen as a sticking-point with bidders.

Tottenham Hotspur had also been bidding for the site but dropped out, leaving West Ham as the principal football bidder.

"We are very confident that there is lots of time to get the negotiations underway," said Johnson, but he said an alternative plan to use the stadium for athletics, music and entertainment was possible too.

"Either we can go with plan B with lots of cultural events, lots of sporting events - a great future - lots of operators coming forward to say how they could animate the stadium in a way that would really draw a huge number of people to the park. We can get all of that going. But we have got plenty of time to get in a football solution if that is what we get in time for 2016, 2015."

Johnson also said that a sports television operation, BT Sport, would be moving into part of the vacant press and broadcast centres at the Olympic site, building television studios and audience areas. BT Sport will be screening 38 Premier League matches live from 2013.

The mayor said that the Olympic site, now known as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, would be open for cultural events in summer 2013. Earlier announcements said the park would not open before 2016 before the World Athletics championships which will be held in London in 2017.


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