West Ham 'logical tenants' for 2012 Olympic Stadium

Olympic stadium
Image caption It could cost West Ham up to £180m to adapt the stadium for football after the Olympics

West Ham are the only Premier League club interested in the Olympic Stadium and would offer a "natural and logical solution", according to Karren Brady.

The club vice-chairman told BBC London they would be the "best anchor tenant" after the games and would incorporate athletics, rugby and cricket.

Adapting the venue for football could cost up to £180m but the club hoped to pay back the taxpayers, she said.

The club could also let others, like entertainment firm AEG, use the venue.

£180m conversion cost

Ms Brady reiterated the east London club's intention to move into the 80,000-seat venue in Stratford as the two-year countdown for the 2012 Games began.

She said: "We have made no secret of the fact that we believe that we would be the best anchor tenant and (provide) the best usage for a stadium of that size where we can not only incorporate Premier League football, we can add athletics, we are doing our own discussions with international cricket and of course with rugby as well, truly making it multi-purpose."

She claimed Tottenham Hotspur, which BBC London has learnt could also be interested in the venue, were not serious.

"Spurs have categorically denied that they have had any talks or interest," Ms Brady said.

"They are weighed down building their own stadium, but to be fair to them, if they were interested it would be so far away from their natural home that it will be very difficult for them to justify the move to their supporters."

She added that AEG, which owns the O2 Arena in Greenwich and is another contender for the 2012 stadium, wanted West Ham to be the main tenant.

"AEG, when I had a discussion with them, would only be interested in the park if we were the tenant. And if it was 25,000 seats, they wouldn't be interested at all because its so middle-of-the-road and its not big enough for certain things."

"So we think we are the natural and logical solution."

It has long been planned that the stadium would be downgraded to a 25,000-seat arena after the games, for use as an athletics venue for the capital. Politicians have also said it would not be used by a football club but fears it would become a "white elephant" have seen rumours about its future use continue.

In March West Ham officially launched a bid for the venue supported by the local Newham Council, offering to reduce its capacity to 60,000 after the Games.

Ms Brady said it would cost the club between £150m and £180m to convert the venue by extending the roof, creating a pitch, turnstiles, toilets and space for corporate hospitality.

But she said the club plans to raise the money by making use of the extra space and offering the stadium for other events when it is not in use for football.

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