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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 29, 2006

Hammers considering Olympic move

West Ham's hopes of moving into the London Olympic stadium have been raised after a top-level meeting tonight between London 2012 leaders and the club's chairman-elect Eggert Magnusson.

The Icelandic businessman, whose consortium is in the process of taking over West Ham, met Olympics minister Tessa Jowell and London mayor Ken Livingstone plus senior London 2012 officials to express his interest in a possible move.

The meeting at the House of Commons was said to be constructive and although the timetable for an agreement is tight, this is the first concrete interest from a Premiership football club in moving to the stadium.

Magnusson was told that a final decision will be taken by the Olympic Board in January, and that he would have to guarantee the stadium could be used to host major athletics events after 2012.

Others present at the meeting were Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London organising committee, plus the Olympic Delivery Authority's chairman and chief executive Sir Roy McNulty and David Higgins.

A spokesperson for Jowell said: 'It was a constructive meeting. The secretary of state said that the board was close to final decisions about future use for the stadium but underlined three key principles which had to be met.

'As promised to the IOC during the bid there would be a 25,000-seat athletics legacy at the Olympic Stadium and football would have to work alongside that.

'The stadium would also need to be available for different community groups post-Games, and Mr Magnusson was told the timetable for decisions was very tight.

'It was agreed that the ball was in West Ham's court. They would reflect on the discussion and decide how they wished to proceed.'

Detailed design work for the stadium is expected to begin in February with construction starting mid-2008.

Magnusson has already said he recognises the need for an athletics legacy.

The Government would expect the club to put around £100million towards the cost of the stadium, part of which would cover the conversion costs.

A spokesman for Magnusson said: 'It was a very useful meeting and we fully take on board the points made by the secretary of state and will look at all the options to move forward.'

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