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West Ham's Olympic dream shattered

Tue 11th Oct 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

West Ham’s proposed move to the Olympic Stadium has fallen through after the OPLC decided the stadium should remain in public ownership.

Confirming the decision, Sports Minister Hugh Robertson, said that legal challenges from Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient, as well as an anonymous complaint to the European Commission had slowed progress on the stadium to unacceptable levels.

In response West Ham issued a joint statement with Newham Council regarding the Olympic Stadium situation.

"We understand Ministers will make a statement later and will not pre-empt that," said Karren Brady, Vice-Chairman of West Ham United, and Kim Bromley-Derry, Chief Executive of the London Borough of Newham.

"Uncertainty caused by the anonymous complaint to the European Commission and ongoing legal challenges have put the Olympic legacy at risk and certainly a stadium, as we envisioned it, may not be in place by 2014 due as a direct result of the legal delay.”

"Therefore we would welcome a move by OPLC and government to end that uncertainty and allow a football and athletics stadium to be in place by 2014 under a new process. If the speculation is true, West Ham will look to become a tenant of the stadium while Newham will aim to help deliver the legacy.

"Our bid is the only one that will secure the sporting and community legacy promise of the Olympic Stadium - an amazing year-round home for football, athletics and community events of which the nation could be proud.

"The true legacy of London 2012 will be the creation of jobs and a generation of young people inspired by sport based around a community home for all by 2014. We remain committed to help deliver that legacy promise to the people of London and the nation."

Mr Robertson said: "The key point is the action we have taken today is about removing the uncertainty. The process had become bogged down in legal paralysis.

"Particularly relevant has been the anonymous complaint to the EC over 'state aid' and the OPLC received a letter from Newham Council yesterday saying because of the uncertainty they no longer wanted to proceed.

"We know there is huge interest in the stadium out there from private operators and football clubs and, crucially, we remove any uncertainty."

The decision is now likely to see West Ham become tenants of the Olympic Stadium rather than taking full ownership as originally intended.

 

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