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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 18, 2010

West Ham win mayor's backing for stadium bid

West Ham's plans to move into the Olympic Stadium have been given the full support of the mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales.

The Hammers have six weeks in which to finalise their proposal to be given the long-term lease of the venue after the 2012 London Olympic Games.

They are among a group of interested parties with the Olympic Park Legacy Company open to ideas for the stadium to be reduced from its Games-time capacity of 80,000 to anywhere between 25,000 and 60,000.

West Ham's ambitions of moving to the Olympic Stadium have the full backing of Newham, the London borough that is home to the arena.

"West Ham United are an East End institution and deserve the chance to be the best and beat the best,'' said Wales. "We have always argued the Olympic Stadium needs a top-flight football team after London 2012.

"In my eyes there is only one obvious choice - and that's the Hammers. West Ham understand the community. It will mean there is a tenant that will look after the place, rather than let it go to ruin.''

Wales believes using the Olympic Stadium to host a Premier League football club is the best way to honour the Games' legacy commitments.

"The last thing anyone wants is for the Olympic Stadium to become a ghost of Olympics past,'' Wales. "We were concerned about this when London successfully won the bid to host the 2012 Games and we continue to be concerned.

"Allowing West Ham to move into this iconic setting would ensure a fitting legacy for the stadium. Legacy has been central to London winning the Olympic bid. We see West Ham moving to the Olympic Stadium as key to unlocking and shaping the future of Newham.

"The only realistic solution is to make the stadium work for a Premier League football team and that should be West Ham. Allowing the club to move into this iconic setting would ensure a fitting legacy for the stadium.

"It would boost England's bid to hold the 2018 football World Cup as the stadium would have to be adapted for football. Having hosted one of the greatest sporting shows on earth why not help hold the other too?''

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady has described West Ham's proposal to move into the Olympic Stadium as the most logical solution to concerns over the arena's future.

"We are incredibly excited to have reached this point in the process,'' she told the club's official website. "The club has invested time and money to make sure the Olympic Stadium is the right choice for us and we are certain this is the case.

"Put simply, we believe we would be the best anchor tenant for the Olympic Stadium. It would also provide the best chance for West Ham to grow and evolve in a way that fits with our proud traditions and history. We would not only incorporate Premier League football but we are talking to athletics, cricket, rugby and other sporting institutions.

"It would be a true home for British excellence and provide the long-lasting conditions to create elite sportsmen and women of the future. The real danger is if the stadiums and the facilities don't get used. From our point of view we are really interested in giving usage not only to the Olympic Stadium but the whole Park so that it has a future beyond the Olympic Games. We offer a natural and logical solution.''

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