By Gary Anderson

November 20 - Work has begun on removing the 14 floodlight structures that lit up the London 2012 Games © AFP/Getty ImagesRemoval work began today on the first of the 14 triangular floodlights that circumnavigate the roof of the Olympic Stadium in London as the venue begins its controversial transformation into the new home of West Ham United Football Club.

Each of the triangular towers weighs around 500 tonnes, stands 230 feet tall and contains 532 individual lights.

They will be taken down and replaced with similar looking structures that will fit underneath a new 45,000 square metre roof that is being designed to cover all 55,000 seats of the stadium once refurbishment work has finished.

The original capacity of the Stadium during London 2012 was 80,000 but under the redevelopment plans, that has been reduced and the first few rows of seats will be retractable so that the running track can remain in place.

A key part of the successful bid to host the Olympics and Paralympics was the lasting legacy of a home for athletics in the city and the Stadium is set to host the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in 2017.

Each of the triangular floodlights at the Olympic Stadium will be replaced with lights that will fit under the new roof © AFP/Getty ImagesEach of the triangular floodlights at the Olympic Stadium will be replaced with lights that will fit under the new roof © AFP/Getty Images

However, the London Legacy Development Corporation sought to find a long-term tenant for the venue and confirmed West Ham as the preferred applicants in March of this year, on a 99-year lease, after a drawn out and often tempestuous process, which saw rival bids from Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient overlooked.

Earlier this month, three men pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining personal information on members of West Ham and the legacy company, with one of the accused being a former partner in accountancy firm PKF, who were used by Tottenham during their bidding process.

Tottenham have denied any involvement in illegal activity relating to the bid process.

"This marks a key milestone in the stunning, £200 million pound ($322 million/€240 million) transformation of the Olympic Stadium - one that will culminate in an iconic new home for our club," West Ham's vice-chairman, Karren Brady, said on the club's website today.

"My team and I fought exceptionally hard on behalf of our supporters to ensure these modifications, which we knew were of paramount importance to our supporters, took effect.

"It was vital for us that this Stadium offers an incredible viewing experience for West Ham fans and I think that will become ever clearer as the conversion progresses.

"We're wholly committed to delivering a state-of-the-art home for West Ham United by 2016 that will honour the Olympic legacy pledge.

"Today represents another significant step toward that hugely exciting goal."

West Ham are due to move into the stadium by the start of the 2016-2017 football season.

Before that, the arena, which was designed by Australian Rod Sheard and is estimated to have cost around £500 million ($808 million/€600 million), will play host to a number of matches during the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

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