West Ham close to securing Olympic Stadium

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Updated: February 12, 2013
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West Ham look set to take up residence in the Olympic Stadium, after resolving the last of their major issues with London 2012 legacy chiefs.

Following intense negotiations last night, the way has now been cleared for the Hammers to play their football at the purpose built stadium.

A proposal will now be put to the London Legacy Development Corporation’s board next Tuesday, after the last remaining sticking point was ironed out on Monday night. A demand by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and the LLDC chairman, for a cut of any profit if West Ham were sold, was the cause of much concern, but it is understood the club have conceded.

An LLDC spokesman said last night: “Things are going well but we’re not quite there yet.”

Monday’s meeting took place two years to the day since the Hammers were initially named preferred bidders to become tenants of the Olympic Stadium on a 99-year lease. However,the bidding process was hit by controversy and legacy chiefs were forced to hold a new bid, which resulted in West Ham being named ‘highest bidder’ in December.

However, the LLDC was not completely satisfied with the clubs offer, including their proposed £15million contribution to the £160million conversion budget required to install retractable seats and a full roof. The majority of conversion costs are being covered by a mix of public funding, including a £40million loan from the local authority, Newham Council. The next issue was Johnson’s assertion he wanted a cut of any profit were the club to be sold after moving into the stadium.

It now appears as if an agreement in principle has been reached over this, and West Ham look set to move homes. Last night’s outcome was also good news for organisers of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, who are keen to stage matches at the stadium. An announcement on tournament venues is set to be made in the penultimate week of March and any further delays would have meant the stadium may have been off limits.

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