Olympic Stadium deal to be completed this month says West Ham co-owner
Monday, 04 March 2013
March 4 - West Ham United co-owner David Gold has claimed a deal for the Premier League club to move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford could be agreed by March 16.
West Ham were named by the London Legacy Development Corporation as the preferred bidder for the Olympic Stadium on December 5 last year and the pair have been in talks since then as they look to agree a deal over the £429 million ($691 million/€528 million) venue.
Mayor of London and Legacy Company chairman Boris Johnson claimed last month that there have been "positive talks" and Gold now says the agreement could be completed by the end of next week.
"I think we're close," Gold said.
"It's only what I'm being promised.
"As we speak I'm being promised March 16.
"We would sign the agreement then."
The 76-year-old stressed that date was not set in stone after the potential agreement - that would see West Ham move to the stadium in 2016 - suffered late glitches before.
"I'm embarrassed because I've tweeted ten times that it's going to be next week or next month and here's a date," he said.
"The date comes and goes and then I give another date.
"But I think we are close."
Negotiations with the Legacy Company have included talks on West Ham's share of the costs of converting the London 2012 venue.
Retractable seating is set to be installed for West Ham matches although the conversion costs are set to be around £160 million ($260 million/€200 million) and the Legacy Company wants West Ham to contribute a significant amount.
"We will only go there if it is fit for use," Gold said.
"I won't go there if I have to look over a running track.
"But I believe we are in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"Let's face it, they've built a stadium - albeit wrong shape and size.
"Most Olympic Stadiums have failed because they haven't embraced the legacy.
"Athletics needs football to support it, there's no other way."
February 2013: Deal for West Ham to move to Olympic Stadium close, claims London Mayor
February 2013: London 2012 Olympic Stadium announcement close, claims West Ham vice-chairman
December 2012: West Ham bid to take over Olympic Stadium given greenlight by Legacy Company but safety net put in place
November 2012: Delay over Olympic Stadium is a "Stratford farce" claims UK Athletics chairman
November 2012: Alan Hubbard - The fanfare of success or the trumpeting of a white elephant?