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Oct 11, 2011

Hammers will apply for stadium tenancy

West Ham are still keen to move to the Olympic Stadium and will look to apply for tenancy despite the deal for them to own the stadium after the 2012 Games collapsing.

West Ham will no longer take full control of the stadium in Stratford, after the Olympic Park Legacy Committee (OPLC) decided that the site will remain under public ownership after next summer's Olympics.

• Hammers stadium deal collapses

The OPLC's decision has come after concerns were raised about whether legal challenges made by Tottenham and Leyton Orient would put the future ownership of the stadium at risk.

Both clubs contested the original decision to give West Ham preferential bidding rights, and the latest hearing in Spurs' attempts to seek a judicial review of the original decision was due on Tuesday.

The OPLC plans to open a new tender process, with a view to finding an anchor tenant for the Olympic Stadium who will be willing to pay an annual rent of around £2 million.

There remains a fund of £50 million set aside to convert the 80,000-seater stadium to a 60,000 capacity venue after the games, which will be capable of hosting Premier League football and major athletics events.

And despite missing out on ownership of the stadium, West Ham have released a joint-statement with Newham council - their partners in the original bid - saying they would 'welcome' a new process, and re-iterating their criticism of the ongoing legal action.

The statement 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."

The OPLC has set a deadline of 2014 for the new tenants to move into the stadium and in order for that to happen planning permission must be submitted by March 2012 to ensure work starts immediately after the Olympic Games finishes.

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