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West Ham 'hopeful' of Olympic Stadium move

Tue 18th May 2010 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

West Ham said today they were "hopeful" of moving to the Olympic Stadium after the London 2012 Games.

The eight-week deadline for would-be tenants of the £537million venue in Stratford, east London, to lodge expressions of interest to the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) ends today.

The club, which is making a joint bid with Newham Council, have spent that time in "meaningful discussions" with a range of organisations include UK Athletics (UKA), Essex Cricket and AEG, the owners of the nearby O2 arena, to try and broaden and fine-tune its proposal.

A West Ham spokesman told the Press Association: "We hope that we are called in very soon to get into much more detailed discussions about what is, or is not possible.

"We are extremely excited and cannot wait to take our ideas forward.

"We have had positive discussions with UKA for how it would be used for athletics.

"We have also had positive discussions with Essex Cricket about putting on cricket, possibly Twenty20 games.

"There is also the possibility for showcasing rugby, plus concerts and wider general events."

Newham and Essex Beagles, the local athletics club, have also been contacted by West Ham about whether there is interest in using the stadium's athletics warm-up track.

"We realise there is an opportunity for a vibrant multi-sport community," the spokesman added.

The OPLC will examine and filter out the different bids until June 18.

A decision on the future use of the Olympic Stadium should be made by the end of March 2011.

After the 2012 games the venue is set to be reduced from 80,000 seats to 25,000.

A promise to the International Olympic Committee when London was awarded the games means it must be used for athletics.

The OPLC is still to confirm how many bids have been made. It will be less than the 100-plus registrations on its website which includes journalists and people seeking information about the bidding process.

The Hammers have pitched their proposal as one which will get "the greatest legacy from the greatest Games".

Their plans included a 55,000-60,000 capacity stadium - "our optimum size," the spokesman said.

This could potentially be achieved by widening and putting in different types of seating from its Olympics use.

The spokesman added: "We feel that the stadium itself should be left as untouched as possible.

"It should stay the same height but we should look at the roof to see if it could be extended so that it could cover all seats in football mode."

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