Olympic legacy: West Ham have welcomed today's move to name them as the top choice to move into the £486 million Olympic Stadium, claiming that the decision will provide the best return for both east London and British taxpayers.
The London Legacy Development Corporation board (LLDC) returned a verdict in favour of the Premier League club, which fended off a number of rival bidders.
Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, UCFB College of Football Business and Leyton Orient were all in the running but West Ham were reportedly the unanimous choice.
A statement on the club’s website read: “West Ham United are extremely pleased to be announced as the highest-ranked bidder to be the anchor concessionaire of the Olympic Stadium — a decision that guarantees a true and lasting legacy for east London and is the best possible outcome for the British taxpayer.”
Hammers vice-chairwoman Karren Brady said: “Our vision for the stadium has always been about standing up for the promises made for London back in Singapore in 2005.
“In selecting West Ham United, the LLDC have secured a long-term viable financial future for the park.
“I guarantee they will not be disappointed when our full vision for a stadium that is world-class in terms of supporter experience, sightlines and facilities is revealed.”
Today's decision by no means marks the end of the process however.
Numerous factors, such as final specifications for adaptations to the stadium and the funding needed for it, gaining planning permission and getting obtaining appropriate national governing body approvals, must still be resolved before a final deal can be struck.
In addition, there is the finalisation of commercial terms to be considered, given the value that a move to the high-profile Olympic Stadium could add to the club.
But though no date for a final deal has been set, a decision on whether football at the site gets the go-ahead will need to be known by March 2013 if the venue is to be part of the plans for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
And the use of the site for football certainly seems to have found favour with Newham Mayor Robin Wales, who said: “This is another massive step forward in securing the future legacy of the Olympic Stadium for the residents of Newham, the people of London and the nation as a whole.”
Newham Council’s chief executive Kim Bromley-Derry added: “West Ham United are not just a local club — they are an important part of the community.
“The Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Park deserve a fitting legacy."