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West Ham seen winning 2012 stadium battle

London: West Ham United were expected to defeat London soccer rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Friday in a battle to inherit the Olympic stadium after the 2012 Games.

Both Premier League clubs have submitted bids to the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) which is holding a board meeting on Friday to finalise its choice of candidate to take over the 496 million pound stadium in east London.

An announcement is expected at a news conference at 1100 GMT on Friday, but the BBC said on Wednesday that West Ham had won the backing of the OPLC`s 14-strong board. The choice would have to be ratified by the government and London mayor Boris Johnson.

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 one of the poorest parts of the capital.

Tottenham`s bid has proved particularly emotive. It plans to demolish most of the stadium and take out the running track to make way for a 60,000-seater soccer only venue at a cost of 300 million pounds.

The project has attracted criticism from many senior figures in athletics as well as London organising committee (LOCOG) chairman Sebastian Coe who said Britain`s reputation would be "trashed" if Tottenham got the stadium.

The north London club`s chairman Daniel Levy has had a tough job persuading fans that a move from the club`s home in White Hart Lane would enable them to compete with Europe`s best.

Tottenham`s plan included revamping Crystal Palace -- on the other side of the capital -- as a world class athletics stadium to honour London`s promise to provide an athletics legacy.

West Ham, who are bottom of the Premier League, would be making a shorter move from their current home at Upton Park.

Their plan would also retain an athletics track inside the stadium, which would be reduced to a 60,000-seater in a more modest 95 million pound project.

Tottenham, backed by American entertainment giant AEG, say that West Ham`s plan to incorporate an athletics track inside a soccer stadium would be unsustainable.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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