Olympic Stadium decision looming


The Olympic Stadium under construction in Stratford, East London

A decision on who will move in to the Olympic Stadium after the London 2012 Games will be made this week, the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has said.

Claims that West Ham have already won approval ahead of London Premier League rivals Tottenham is “pure speculation”, a spokesman insisted.

The 14 voting members of the OPLC board are gathering on Friday for a special meeting where the future of the Olympic Stadium will be the only item on the agenda.

The spokesman said: “It is pure speculation to say that a decision has been made. Our board meets on Friday. There will be presentations by OPLC officers of both bids and a vote to recommend a preferred bidder.”

The meeting could take up to three hours and a final decision will have to get the go-ahead from the Government and the London Mayor.

The differences between the two bids for the showpiece £537 million venue in Stratford, east London, centre on the running track – West Ham would keep it while Tottenham would not. An athletics legacy was a key pledge that London made to the International Olympic Committee when it won the right to stage the 2012 Games.

West Ham, in a joint bid with Newham Council, want to convert the 80,000-seater stadium into a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use.

The contest has become a bitter war of words in recent days. Tottenham’s proposed 60,000-seat new home would be built in place of the Olympic Stadium prompting West Ham vice chairman Karren Brady to declare it would be “a corporate crime to bring the bulldozers in”.

If successful Tottenham, joint bidders with sports and entertainment giant AEG, intend to refurbish an old athletics centre at Crystal Palace as a 25,000-capacity venue for track and field. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy dismissed criticism about its bid as “scaremongering”, adding: “We are proposing one of the most advanced, state-of-the-art stadiums in Europe that will deliver an exceptional spectator experience.”

The aim is for a deal to be struck on the stadium and contracts signed by the end of the financial year.

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