London 2012

Hammers closer to stadium keys

Robertson happy with OPLC process

Last Updated: 13/02/11 12:49pm

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Olympic Stadium: West Ham preferred bidders

Olympic Stadium: West Ham preferred bidders

Hugh Robertson has confirmed the Government are close to rubber-stamping West Ham's bid to move into the Olympic Stadium.

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The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) announced on Friday that they were recommending the Hammers as the preferred bidder over Tottenham after a unanimous vote.

Two Government departments - culture, media and sport, and communities and local government - and the London Mayor's office now have to ratify the decision.

Robertson, the sports and Olympics minister, has studied the documents produced by OPLC, and has been satisfied the process had been done correctly.

He said: "I have read all the board papers carefully and I'm entirely sure myself the OPLC's process was robust and independent."

Formal announcement

Asked if in that case he would vote for West Ham to get the stadium, he added: "There is a process to go through but West Ham are clearly in the lead. I'm absolutely convinced that the OPLC process has been robust and independent, so yes.

"We want to make a formal announcement to Parliament but we know the clock is ticking and we want to get it done as quickly as possible."

Robertson said he did not believe the issue of the running track would cause problems to football fans at the stadium, and said West Ham could have retractable seating so long as they kept their promises to athletics.

He added: "People tend to think of a 1980s mixed use stadium. This is a much more modern stadium, the sightlines are much better, the fans are much closer to the centre spot than the outer seats at Wembley.

"Anybody who has stood in the middle of where the pitch will be will tell you that it looks much, much better. If West Ham want to bring in retractable seating and can still fulfil the promises they made to athletics then that's fair enough."

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