West Ham lead Olympic stadium race
West Ham United have been named as the preferred bidder to take over use of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.
West Ham have been embroiled in a battle over the venue for much of the last three years, with competition from Tottenham Hotspur and opposition from local club Leyton Orient.
The London Legacy Development Corporation has today confirmed West Ham are the 'Highest-Ranked Bidder' for the site, although Mayor of London Boris Johnson stressed a deal is yet to be agreed with the club, stating: "I can see a great future for stadium with or without association football."
In a statement released on West Ham official website, vice-chairman Karen Brady said: "In selecting West Ham United, the LLDC have secured a long-term viable financial future for the Park. On behalf of West Ham United, I feel privileged to have been granted the responsibility to play a key part in delivering a true Games legacy.
"I would like to thank the loyal, passionate and patient West Ham supporters, who have given their time to share their opinions on our proposed move and, despite the considerable constraints and confidentially agreements we were required to enter into, I can assure them that their feedback was instrumental in shaping the board's approach to our bid.
"I guarantee they will not be disappointed when our full vision for a stadium that is world-class in terms of supporter experience, sightlines and facilities is revealed.
"We are now committed to working closely with our new partners and stakeholders in the Stadium to successfully conclude our discussions and bring our collective ambitions to fruition."
West Ham co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan also released a joint statement, talking up the potential commercial benefits of occupying the venue.
''We believe that this move ... will play a huge part in helping to realise our ambitious vision to move the club to the next level on behalf of our fantastic and deserving fans," the statement said.
"We are ambitious for our great club and aim to set the benchmark for visiting away and neutral football supporters from across the globe to come and enjoy the iconic stadium and be part of our Premier League club experience.''