2012 Olympic Stadium deal collapses

The London 2012 Olympic Stadium has a capacity of 80,000 and will host the Games' opening ceremony.

Story highlights

  • West Ham United's move to the London 2012 Olympic Stadium has collapsed
  • The stadium will now be retained as a public asset and rented to a tenant
  • West Ham have declared their interest in renting the stadium
  • Tottenham's continued legal challenge cited as reason for proposed new arrangements
A deal which would have seen English football club West Ham United move into the London 2012 Olympic Stadium collapsed on Tuesday, casting doubt over the future of the purpose-built venue.
The British government announced the stadium, which is located in the Stratford area of east London and has the capacity to hold 80,000 spectators, will be kept in public ownership and rented out to a suitable tenant.
"The government and mayor of London have decided to end the current process to dispose of the Olympic stadium," read a statement on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's website.
"The stadium will now be retained it (sic) as a public asset, and the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has been asked to start a new process to secure tenants for the stadium."
The latest development also secures the future of the stadium as an athletics venue, with London bidding to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
West Ham originally won the right to move into the stadium in February, beating off competition from rival London club Tottenham Hotspur, after their bid received the unanimous backing of the OPLC.
But the decision has now been reversed amid concerns that a continued legal challenge from Tottenham could cause delays which would impact negatively on the future of the stadium.
Another contributing factor is the time London would need to prepare for hosting the 2017 athletics showpiece, with Qatar also bidding to stage the championships in Doha.
"The government is committed to securing a legacy from the Olympic stadium, and wants to see it re-opening in 2014," British sports minister Hugh Robertson said. "The process to sell the stadium has become bogged down.
"We are acting today to end the legal paralysis that has put that legacy at risk. Ending the current sale process and looking for a leasehold solution will remove the current uncertainty and allows us to help secure the future use of the stadium with more confidence."
Despite the setback, a statement from West Ham vice -chairman Karen Brady insisted the news was positive and the club would be interested in pursuing tenancy of the site.
"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 Council will aim to help deliver the legacy.
The stadium will be the center of global attention when London becomes the first city to host the Games for a third time next year, with the opening ceremony kicking off proceedings on July 27, 2012.