By Duncan Mackay

Olympic Stadium_with_track_October_3_2011October 11 - The deal to award West Ham the Olympic Stadium after the London 2012 Games has collapsed.

The board of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has ended negotiations because of the concerns caused by the delays triggered by the ongoing legal dispute with Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient.

The OPLC, Government and Mayor of London have instead agreed the Stadium will remain in public ownership.

A Ministerial statement is expected later today, saying that the Stadium will remain in public ownership and leased out to an anchor tenant following a new tender process.

The new tender process is due to be launched this week and any interested bidders will have to submit proposals by January.

A public fund of £50 million ($78 million/€57 million) has been set aside to help convert the Stadium from an 80,000-seater arena during the Games into a 60,000-capacity ground afterwards.

That will raise controversy as nearly £500 million ($782 million/€573 million) of public money has already been ploughed into building the Stadium.

The post-Games stadium will be capable of hosting major athletics events and Premier League football, leaving the possibility of West Ham still being able to move there from their current home at Upton Park if they lease the Olympic venue for an annual rent.

It is estimated that will cost a yearly rental fee of £2 million ($3.1 million/€2.3 million), helping offset the £5 million ($7.8 million/€5.7 million) a year it will cost to run the Stadium.

This latest twist comes only a week before the High Court is due to hear a judicial review granted to Tottenham and Orient, who claim that the £40 million ($62.5 million/€45.8 million) loan Newham Borough Council had given to West Ham to help facilitate the move is state aid and illegal under European law.

The row has overshadowed London's bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships, which is facing rivals Doha.

An anonymous complaint was also made to the European Commission last week, which the OPLC feared could cause even further delays, and led to fresh doubts being raised over the Government's promise to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that the future of the track was guaranteed after London 2012.

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UK Athletics have welcomed today's decision to retain the Olympic Stadium in public ownership and chairman Ed Warner said: "This decision has provided absolute clarity for everyone involved.

"It guarantees the athletics legacy pledged as part of our Olympic bid, and ensures the stadium will be able to host world class athletics from the summer of 2014.

"It is very good news for our bid to host the IAAF World Athletics Championships in 2017 as it further reinforces the guarantees provided by the London 2017 bid team to last week's IAAF Evaluation Commission.

"The plans for the stadium remain unaltered.

"It will be remodelled as a 60,000 seat arena, fully roofed, with an adjacent warm up track.

"We look forward to welcoming the Aviva London Grand Prix to the stadium in 2014 and to hosting the World Championships in 2017 if the IAAF does us the honour of awarding the event to the UK.

"It would be a central part of an integrated legacy strategy for the Olympic Stadium that will benefit British sport for generations to come."

A statement from UKA also went on to say that, "if West Ham and Newham became tenants we'd be very happy as our partnership with them has been excellent.

"It would mean a multiuse park with public use legacy alongside elite sport - absolutely in line with the original Olympic vision."

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