Belfast Telegraph

Olympic Stadium decision may be delayed

A decision on whether West Ham can move into the Olympic Stadium could be put back, it has emerged.

The Hammers want to become main tenants at the Stratford site for the start of the 2014/2015 season.

However, a report on the Guardian's website claims the Barclays Premier League club remain at loggerheads with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) over changes which would need to be made to the stadium such as retractable seating - and crucially who would fund them at a cost of around £160million.

LLDC chief executive Dennis Hone told the website: "If we can't come to a conclusion, in the scheme of things if it slips another month or two I would rather get the right solution. Yes, the stadium is tricky, but it's tricky because we want to get it right. I would hate to bung someone in there and see it fall apart in five years. If it takes a couple of extra months to get there, then so be it."

West Ham say they remain committed to their potential new home despite concerns over a possible delay.

In a statement to The Press Association, West Ham said: "It is now 20 months since West Ham United were initially named as the preferred bidder to occupy the Olympic Stadium post-Games. We are obviously disappointed, that three bids later, a decision has yet to be reached.

"We do however remain fully committed to becoming the catalyst to galvanise the Olympic Park by bringing people, jobs and a robust and sustainable commercial offer that guarantees a return to the taxpayer of the money already invested."

Other bids are under consideration, including one from nearby football club Leyton Orient, a football business college as well as a group wanting to host a Formula One race at the Olympic Park.

The £486million Olympic Stadium has already been earmarked for 20 athletics meetings, which include the World Championships in 2017, and will also be available for community use, with Newham Council contributing some £40million in a loan towards the redevelopment project.

The bidding process to take over the Olympic Stadium had to be restarted last year after legal challenges from both Tottenham and Orient to West Ham's proposed tenancy.

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