Boris Johnson: West Ham ‘almost certain’ to rent Olympic Stadium
London Mayor Boris Johnson says the Olympic Stadium will “almost certainly” still become the home to West Ham United football club.
Speaking at a business conference in Olympia, west London, after the Hammers’ and Newham Council’s deal to take over the stadium collapsed, Mr Johnson said: “As everybody knows, there has been a great deal of legal to-ing and fro-ing about the future of the stadium and I think we have come up with a very good solution.
“We will keep it in public hands but we will effectively rent it to a football club, almost certainly West Ham, and that will cover the costs and I think it will be a very good deal for the taxpayer.”
Mr Johnson insisted the stadium would not become a burden to the taxpayer.
He said: “I am confident that this decision is the best way to ensure we have certainty over the stadium’s future.
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“I believe it will also put us in the place where we always intended to be - delivering a lasting sustainable legacy for the stadium backed up by a robust but flexible business plan that provides a very good return to the taxpayer.”
West Ham have announced that they will look to be a tenant at the Olympic Stadium in east London when the Olympic Park Legacy Company reopens the tender process for the site.
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A joint statement by Karren Brady, West Ham vice-chairman, and Kim Bromley-Derry, Newham chief executive, said: “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.”