Hammers await stadium call

Irons poised for move to home of 2012 Olympics

Last Updated: 11/02/11 12:27pm

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Olympic Stadium: Decision day

Olympic Stadium: Decision day

Sky Bet

West Ham are due to be formally announced as the club that will take over the Olympic Stadium after the London 2012 Games.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) have called a news conference in Westminster for Friday where they will announce their preferred choice.

OPLC board members are being recommended by their officials to choose West Ham's bid over Tottenham's.

That will see the athletics track retained inside the stadium and avoid huge embarrassment to ministers and the London mayor Boris Johnson, who would otherwise have been accused of breaking promises to the International Olympic Committee.

Tottenham have expressed their concerns that the news of West Ham's victory had leaked out ahead of the OPLC meeting.

The club said in a statement: "Whilst we are concerned to read that there appears to have been a leak of information from the OPLC about what their recommendation and decision may be, we regard it as premature to make any comment at this stage."

Surprise

The recommendation from OPLC executives does not automatically mean that West Ham will win the backing of the board members, but it would be a major surprise if that was not the case.

The board's decision also has to be ratified by two Government departments and the London Mayor's office, and that is likely to take place next week. Again, it would be a huge shock if the OPLC decision was not rubber-stamped by the ministers and Boris Johnson.

Tottenham's consortium will look for guarantees that the row over the athletics track, which became a highly-charged political issue, did not count against them. Their plans were to create a football-only stadium without the track and redevelop the Crystal Palace athletics stadium for that sport.

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe was among those calling for the track to be maintained in line with promises made to the IOC back in 2005.

It seems likely that the cost of the West Ham development has counted in the Hammers' favour: they plan to spend only £95million - £40million coming in the form of a loan from bid partner Newham Council - while Spurs' proposals would have seen the club borrow around £250million.

It will be years however before it can be determined whether the running track does have any effect on the long-term viability of West Ham at the Olympic Stadium.

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