Belfast Telegraph

Newham mayor backs Hammers

West Ham's plans to move into the Olympic Stadium have been given the full support of the mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales.

The Hammers have six weeks in which to finalise their proposal to be given the long-term lease of the venue after the 2012 London Olympic Games. They are among a group of interested parties with the Olympic Park Legacy Company open to ideas for the stadium to be reduced from its Games-time capacity of 80,000 to between 25,000 and 60,000.

Wales said: "West Ham United are an East End institution and deserve the chance to be the best and beat the best. We have always argued the Olympic Stadium needs a top-flight football team after London 2012. In my eyes there is only one obvious choice - and that's the Hammers."

He added: "West Ham understand the community. It will mean there is a tenant that will look after the place, rather than let it go to ruin."

Wales believes using the Olympic Stadium to host a Barclays Premier League football club is the best way to honour the Games' legacy commitments.

"The last thing anyone wants is for the Olympic Stadium to become a ghost of Olympics past," Wales added.

"We were concerned about this when London successfully won the bid to host the 2012 Games and we continue to be concerned. Allowing West Ham to move into this iconic setting would ensure a fitting legacy for the stadium.

"Legacy has been central to London winning the Olympic bid. We see West Ham moving to the Olympic Stadium as key to unlocking and shaping the future of Newham.

"The only realistic solution is to make the stadium work for a Premier League football team and that should be West Ham. Allowing the club to move into this iconic setting would ensure a fitting legacy for the stadium.

"It would boost England's bid to hold the 2018 football World Cup as the stadium would have to be adapted for football. Having hosted one of the greatest sporting shows on earth why not help hold the other too?"

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