By Andrew Warshaw at Russia.Park in Kensington Gardens in London

London 2012_Olympic_Stadium_on_first_day_of_athletics_August_3_2012August 3 - Sir John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) – the body charged with building the London 2012 venues and infrastructure – has defended the decision to construct the main stadium at Stratford without knowing what its future held after the Games.

A ruling over who will ultimately move into the Stadium is due to be made next month at the earliest by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), amid increasing controversy over legacy use.

Premier League West Ham United is the favourite to secure a deal on a 99-year lease following an often bitter wrangle among the various prospective tenants.

"There is nothing more political than the Olympics," said Sir John, speaking at the Global Sports Industry Congress here.

"Ideally you may have said 'Let's build the main stadium knowing what it is going to be used for, that in the future it would have to be used for football as well as athletics.'

"[But] if we'd done that it would have been more expensive because we'd have had to build retractable seating.

Sir John_Armitt_2_AugustSir John Armitt, the chairman of the ODA, said they had to start building the Stadium without knowing its future if it was going to be completed on time

"It was one of those decisions we had to make at that point in time, otherwise we would have had to delay the construction.

"We didn't have any firm proposal for any legacy use from anybody.

"The question then was whether we spent the money in the hope of getting someone or deliberately, as we did, say 'No, let's assume we are going to take it down and build and design it in a totally flexible manner.'

"You have to make these decisions with the information you have at the time."

Sir John, who faced intense scrutiny from virtually every quarter in the build-up to the Games, said the most important thing now was that the stadium would not only be used for football.

"Multi-use would seem to be the most rational approach," he said.

"The Stadium belongs to the public... so you want to maximise the value.

"If it's football, it has to be football with something, and with something else."

As for the ODA's future, Sir John said there was roughly £70 million ($109 million/€88 million) work of dismantling to be done, including taking down much of the Olympic Village infrastructure within the next 12 to 18 months.

The Aquatics_Centre_2_2_AugustThe Aquatics Centre will be reconfigured and downsized post-Games

He admitted the area would not be up and running properly for quite a while.

"The big challenge is how quickly we can reopen the [Olympic] Park after the Games," he said.

"There will be a lot of pressure from people in London saying 'You've had the Games, now where's our park?'"

The fact that many venues are temporary rather than permanent structures, and can be taken round various other cities in the country, will avoid the white elephant syndrome, Sir John pledged.

But he conceded: "The next couple of years will be a challenge because we won't be able to get full use out of the Park.

"The Aquatics Centre, for instance, is being reconfigured and the building shrunk down.

"That will create frustration – people won't be able to use it for a year.

"Managing expectations will be a big challenge."

Asked when London would be able to judge the long-term success of the Games, he replied: "I've always said 2020-25 – provided we see continued development of housing and the park being used in the way we'd like."

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