West Ham United have been named as the top choice to move into the Olympic Stadium when it reopens.
The London Legacy Development Corporation board (LLDC) unanimously made the decision in favour of the Premier League club ahead of rivals from Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, UCFB College of Football Business and Leyton Orient. LLDC chairman and London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “The bid that has been ranked top is West Ham United. I am very pleased about that.
“It will, if it goes through, mean a football legacy for the stadium but there is still a lot of negotiation to go on between the LLDC and West Ham United about the terms of the deal.”
Factors such as the final specification for adaptations to the stadium and the funding needed for it, gaining planning permission and obtaining national governing body approvals are among the issues that need to be sorted before a final deal can be struck. There is also the finalisation of commercial terms to be considered.
Legacy chiefs know the value of the club could increase significantly by a move to the high-profile Olympic Stadium. They want to protect the investment made by taxpayers in building the venue so they can also get a share of any future benefit.
If a football use can be agreed, the stadium would be reconfigured to provide retractable/moveable seating so there could be a quick changeover between athletics and football use.
Mr Johnson said he could imagine a situation where football was not the solution for the future use of the 60,000-seat stadium in the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.
The LLDC is also working on a detailed design for a non-football option in case West Ham are not able to meet the conditions as first ranked bidder.
Mr Johnson said: “We are very confident there is plenty of time to get the negotiations under way or either to go with Plan B – lots of cultural events or sporting events.”
London 2012 are due to hand over the stadium to the LLDC on December 14.
West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady said: “On behalf of West Ham United, I feel privileged to have been granted the responsibility to play a key part in delivering a true Games legacy.”