West Ham get backing for Olympic stadium bid

Oct 12, 2010
Richard Sayers

UK Athletics gives its formal support to the Hammers after Spurs wanted to ditch running track

West Ham's bid to take over the London Olympic stadium after the 2012 Olympic Games has received a considerable boost from UK Athletics, who have pledged their support to the Hammers cause.


The news will come as a big blow to Tottenham Hotspur and entertainment group AEG, who were competing against the East London side for the stadium. Their bid lost a lot of ground and support when it emerged that they intended to do away with the running track if they got control of the arena.


The Hammers' commitment to retaining the running track was a major factor in winning the support of Athletics UK, the national governing body for athletics.

UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner, said: "What has impressed me so much about the joint bid from West Ham and Newham [council] is their clear commitment to the spirit of the Olympic legacy and not just athletics at the elite end, but with the retention of the community track, our future champions and club runners too."

West Ham is also working with entertainment company Live Nation, a company that promotes artists including Madonna, U2 and Jay-Z. And they may get the rights to stage live events at the stadium.

With the Hammers now firm favourites to move into the venue after the Olympics it is not just Tottenham who will feel hard-done by. League One side Leyton Orient were also looking to secure the use of the stadium and now fear for their very survival.

Orient chairman Barry Hearn fears that if West Ham move to a 80,000-seat stadium it will sound the death knell for his club. He says that as West Ham have a fan base of around 35,000 they will try and fill the stadium by offering cheap tickets to those near the new ground.

As the Olympic venue is in the heart of Leyton Orient's catchment area Hearn says that fans will abandon his club for West Ham and the delights of cut price Premier League football.

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