London Olympic stadium becomes West Ham`s new home

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2013, 15:04 PM IST

London: Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced that the long-term future of the London Olympic stadium is secure after a deal with West Ham United Football Club which confirms the Premier League side as the long-term anchor tenant.

West Ham`s 99-year concession commences in 2016 and secures a year round programme of sports and events at the venue.

The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and will now play host to some of the world`s most watched football games.

"This is a truly momentous milestone for London`s spectacular Olympic Stadium ensuring its credible and sustainable future," said Boris Johnson on Friday. "Through this deal, we are defying the critics who predicted this landmark would become a dusty relic."

West Ham will bid farewell to their current home Upton Park and move into the stadium in summer 2016, after it is transformed into a UEFA Category 4 venue with 54,000 seats.

"The consultation we have promised them will now begin and we can`t wait to work with them to create a stunning new home that befits the pride, passion and tradition that the world associates with West Ham United," said Karren Brady, vice chairman of the east London club.

Transformation works will include a new roof and retractable seating which allows the stadium to be converted from athletics arena to football ground.

In addition to the funds to be provided by the Legacy Corporation for the adaptation works, West Ham will contribute 15 million pounds, Newham Council will invest 40 million pounds and the government has agreed to provide additional support of up to 25 million pounds should it be required once the tenders are returned.

West Ham and UK Athletics will both have a long term presence for the Olympic Stadium, where the 2013 London stop of Diamond League will be held in July.

"We`re pleased that the stadium process has reached this next important milestone and remain excited that athletics will be a central part of a vibrant year-round solution to this iconic venue," said Ed Warner, chairman of UK Athletics.