West Ham United endure further wait for Olympic Stadium move decision
Monday, 14 May 2012
May 14 - English Championship club West Ham United will have to wait until London 2012 kicks-off to find out if they can move into the Olympic Stadium, after the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) extended the bidding process by eight weeks.
It had been anticipated that the stadium's future would be solved before it holds the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics on July 27.
The LLDC said that a number of issues had arisen during the bidding process, and that parties who received an Invitation to Tender in January would now have additional time.
Sixteen parties received that invitation in January, including League One club Leyton Orient, who fear if West Ham move into the Olympic Stadium (pictured top) it will threaten their long term future.
They did not, however, submit a formal bid by the original March 23 deadline, unlike West Ham, who were one of four parties who did.
Although the identity of two of the bidders is unknown, the others are the University of East London and Essex County Cricket Club, who had previously supported West Ham's original bid to move into the Olympic Stadium last year.
Though West Ham won that process, the deal collapsed late last year after the then Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), now the LLDC, pulled out of negotiations.
The stadium will now remain in public hands.
LLDC chief executive Andrew Altman said: "We are determined to run a process that is fair to all and delivers the best possible legacy for the Olympic Stadium.
"We have been very encouraged by the quality of the bids so far.
"However, a number of issues have arisen during the process and we believe it is sensible to give everyone more time so they can be addressed."
Among those issues causing the need for the process to be reopened are stadium naming rights and technical improvements to the facility.
There is also the issue of governing body approval, with Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn having claimed that West Ham, whose current home is Upton Park (pictured above), do not have permission from the Football League to move into the ground.
The alteration to the process means that while West Ham would require League approval, it is not a prerequisite to a formal bid.
"We want to make the process as competitive as possible and extending the competition period will allow all parties that registered an initial interest in the stadium another chance to bid," Altman continued.
"The fundamentals have not changed and it remains our intention to sign construction contracts for converting the stadium at the end of October, with the intention of reopening in 2014 as previously announced.
"This is a significant public asset and a 99-year lease, and it is right that we take the time now to get the best possible outcome for the stadium."
April 2012: Exclusive - West Ham fan Kriss Akabusi backs club's Olympic Stadium bid
April 2012: West Ham Olympic Stadium bid is fundamentally flawed, slams Leyton Orient's chair
April 2012: We'll attract a million fans to the Olympic Stadium each year, predicts West Ham
March 2012: University of East London and Essex County Cricket join Olympic Stadium bid
March 2012: West Ham United among four formal bidders for London 2012 Olympic Stadium