West Ham football kits are set to grace the Olympic stadium as the club looks set to be named as tenants for the venue in Stratford after receiving the backing of the Olympic Park Legacy Committee. The body, partially in charge of deciding who will use the stadium after the Olympics in 2012, have rejected Tottenham Hotspur’s controversial bid to use the stadium according to BBC London.
The North London club planned to remove the running track from around the pitch, and tear down some of the structure – a plan which caused outrage in the athletics community. Lord Sebastian Coe, leader of the 2012 Olympic bid team, warned the Spurs bid would “trash” the reputation of the London Olympics and comprise the promise to promote the legacy of the games, which formed a large part of the bid.
The board have now decided that West Ham’s bid – which pledges to retain the athletics track around the perimeter of the pitch and use the stadium for other sports such as cricket – is preferable to the Spurs rival bid.
Tottenham had proposed new plans to invest in developing the Athletics stadium in Crystal Palace to maintain the Olympic legacy instead of keeping the running track. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp said he believed “football and athletics don’t mix” and believed West Ham’s plans to keep the track were flawed.
The battle for the stadium has turned increasingly bitter as both clubs became involved in a war of words in the build up to the announcement. West Ham Vice-chair Karren Brady accused Spurs of committing “corporate crime” with their bid, while Tottenham’s chairman branded the former Birmingham chief-executive a “scaremonger” and “irresponsible”.
The OPLC are expected to announce the backing of West Ham’s occupancy of the stadium on Friday. London Mayor Boris Johnson and Government ministers still have to give the go-ahead on West Ham’s move to the stadium but are not expected to object to the plans.
An OPLC statement denied a decision had been taken already and said the board had yet to full consider both bids.
“It is pure speculation to say that a decision has been made.” A spokesman said.
“Our board meets on Friday. There will be presentations by OPLC officers of both bids and a vote to recommend a preferred bidder.”