West Ham beat Spurs to 2012 Stadium prize

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2011, 08:15 AM IST

London: West Ham United won the battle to inherit the London Olympic stadium after the 2012 Games, delighting everyone from international sports bosses to fans of defeated rival bidder Tottenham Hotspur.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) made a unanimous recommendation to back West Ham`s plans over an audacious bid from Tottenham, who planned to remove the running track and knock down the 500 million pound ($800 million) stadium in favour of a purpose-built football ground on the site.

The authorities are keen to have a viable tenant to ensure that the stadium, centrepiece of the 9.3 billion pound Olympics, helps to regenerate the rundown area of east London, one of the poorest parts of the capital.

OPLC Chair Margaret Ford said the decision served the needs of sport, culture, entertainment and the local community.

"We are confident that this represents the very best legacy for the Stadium," she said.

The OPLC decision, which must be rubber-stamped by London mayor Boris Johnson and the government, won endorsement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and honours a commitment to athletics made when London was awarded the Games in 2005.

"The IOC welcomes the Olympic Park Legacy Company`s decision which allows Games preparations to continue and paves the way for a great sporting legacy," the IOC said in a brief statement.

Lamine Diack, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president, said he was delighted.

"I have always said that Britain, whose history and legendary athletes have been an inspirational example, deserves a world class athletics venue. Now athletics can continue to thrive in the Olympic Park, long after the Olympic flame has gone out."

Bureau Report