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11 Oct 2011

West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady says the football club still want to move to the Olympic Stadium in 2014.

The Championship side looked to have secured a switch to the venue following the London 2012 Games.

But the stadium, which has cost more than £500m to build, will now remain in public ownership.

"Our bid is the only one that will secure the sporting and community legacy promise of the Olympic Stadium," Brady said.

The BBC can disclose that the board of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) ended negotiations amid concerns over delays caused by the ongoing legal dispute with Tottenham.

It followed an agreement between the OPLC, government and Mayor of London.

In a joint statement with Kim Bromley-Derry, chief executive of the London Borough of Newham, Brady said: "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.

"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."

Rival football clubs Tottenham and Leyton Orient are contesting the original decision to award the stadium to West Ham.

They claim that the Hammers' reliance on a £40m loan from Newham Council is effectively state aid.

UK Athletics chief Ed Warner says the decision is good news as it will end the uncertainty that has surrounded recent negotiations.

"It's fantastic for UK Athletics and it is a bold and decisive move by the legacy company," Warner told BBC Radio 5 live.

Lack of clarity over the future of the stadium in 2010 forced Britain to scrap a bid for the 2015 World Championships, which were awarded instead to Beijing, hosts of the 2008 Olympics.

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said Tuesday's decision would improve London's chances of winning the right to host the World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in 2017.

He told 5 live that Britain could bid with "full confidence" now that the OPLC had brought "certainty" to the whole process.

Robertson added: "We want this to be a mixed-use stadium with athletics at its heart."

The OPLC has set a deadline of 2014 for the new tenants of the stadium to move in.

For that to happen, planning permission must be submitted by March 2012 to ensure work starts immediately after the 2012 Olympics have finished.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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