Skip to main content

Obama's top soccer team wins London Olympic Stadium backing

December 5, 2012 -- Updated 1758 GMT (0158 HKT)
The Olympic Stadium in London was packed to the rafters during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Olympic Stadium in London was packed to the rafters during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Soccer club West Ham selected as preferred bidder for London's Olympic Stadium
  • Premier League side beat off competition from third-tier team Leyton Orient
  • Reconstruction work on the arena expected to cost between $210-240 million
  • U.S. president's favorite English team will contribute $24 million

(CNN) -- Barack Obama received the backing of a nation when he was elected for a second term as U.S. president last month, and now his favorite English soccer club has also won a significant ballot.

English Premier League side West Ham United -- the team of choice of the 44th president of the United States -- has been selected as the preferred occupant for London's Olympic Stadium, the venue which hosted the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) announced on Wednesday that the east London club -- whose stadium is located near to the former Olympic Park site in Stratford -- had beaten off competition from neighboring third-tier team Leyton Orient, a proposed sports university project and a consortium looking to bring Formula One to the British capital.

Read: English football grapples with anti-Semitism

India kicked out of Olympics
The forecasted cost of the Olympics and Paralympics is £8.921 billion ($14.236 billion). The English capital became the first city to host the Games on three occasions. The forecasted cost of the Olympics and Paralympics is £8.921 billion ($14.236 billion). The English capital became the first city to host the Games on three occasions.
Park life
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
London\'s Olympic legacy in action London's Olympic legacy in action
The crowd cheers during the London 2012 Victory Parade for Team GB and Paralympic GB athletes on September 10, 2012 in London, England. The crowd cheers during the London 2012 Victory Parade for Team GB and Paralympic GB athletes on September 10, 2012 in London, England.
London 2012: The Victory Parade
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
>
>>
London 2012: The victory parade London 2012: The victory parade

"The LLDC's board unanimously agreed that West Ham United's bid for a concession to play at the Olympic Stadium should be ranked highest of the bids received, and that negotiations should be held with the club on final commercial terms for them to move to the stadium," read a statement on the organization's website.

West Ham had initially tried to buy the stadium and was named the preferred bidder in February 2011, but that deal collapsed in October of that year after threats of court action from rival candidates and an independent review of the process.

The stadium was then offered to potential tenants, and from an initial 16 interested parties the list was cut to four bidders in March 2012.

Despite backing West Ham's bid for the 80,000-seater arena, the LLDC insisted any future tenant would have to accommodate the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

If West Ham cannot cater for track and field, the club would be unable to complete its proposed move to the site.

"If a football use can be agreed the stadium would be reconfigured to provide a retractable/moveable seating solution so there could be a quick change over between athletics and football use," the LLDC said.

"The legacy corporation recognizes that West Ham and other parties may not be able to meet the necessary conditions, so is progressing a detailed design for a non-football option. This would allow the stadium to be brought back into use as soon as possible."

West Ham's joint chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold hailed Wednesday's announcement as the latest step in realizing the vision they had for the club when they purchased a 50% shareholding for $85 million in 2010.

"We are ambitious for our great club and aim to set the benchmark for visiting away and neutral football supporters from across the globe to come and enjoy the iconic Stadium and be part of our Premier League club experience," they said in a statement.

Reconstruction work on the stadium, including extending the roof and adding retractable seating, will reportedly cost between $210-240 million and will be funded by a mix of public money and a $64 million loan from the local Newham Council.

West Ham is expected to contribute $24 million to the restructuring of the public-funded stadium, which cost $690 million to build.

The club returned to the English top flight in August following relegation in 2011, and has made an encouraging start to the season under the guidance of manager Sam Allardyce, sitting eighth in the table with 22 points from 15 matches.

Obama has reportedly been a fan of "the Hammers" since a trip to England several years before his election to office in 2008.

The club's supporters have even sung songs in his honor during matches, according to the Goal.com website.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1339 GMT (2139 HKT)
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT