The Olympic Park Legacy Company's (OPLC) Board has recommended the West Ham United and the London Borough of Newham consortium as the preferred bidder for the Olympic Stadium.

The decision, following a thorough and rigorous process supported by expert advisors, secures the best overall legacy for the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Margaret Ford, Chair of the Legacy Company, said: "Following a very robust process involving a huge amount of work, the Board has made a clear and unanimous recommendation to select West Ham United and the London Borough of Newham as the preferred long-term tenant for our Olympic Stadium.

"We are confident that this represents the very best legacy for the Stadium - it's good for the community of East London, it's great for Londoners, its excellent news for the UK taxpayer and it's a good outcome for sport.

"The whole purpose of starting this process was to find a legacy that would improve upon the original plans for a 25,000 seat Stadium. We have now achieved that objective with this solution - one that is credible and offers an all-round better legacy in serving the needs of sport, culture, entertainment and the local community.

"The two proposals are very different. We recognise the passion and commitment behind the bids but ultimately this is a decision about creating a sustainable economic legacy that works best for the wider regeneration of East London, and is integrated with our broader vision to make the Olympic Park a leading destination.

"West Ham and Newham with their partners, including Westfield and Live Nation, will bring energy and dynamism into the Park and into the East End and will provide a very strong anchor tenant for the Stadium. These are organisations that have already invested heavily in the area and are wedded to bringing benefits for the local community."

Five objectives have anchored the process for evaluating bids. Our decision is based on the overall strength of this consortium's bid in meeting these objectives. They are:

*To achieve a viable long-term solution for the Olympic Stadium that is deliverable and provides value for money.

*To secure a partner with the capability to deliver and operate a legacy solution for a venue of the Stadium's size and complexity.

*To re-open the Stadium for operational use as rapidly as possible following the 2012 Games.

*To ensure that the Stadium remains a distinctive physical symbol supporting the economic, physical and social regeneration of the surrounding area.

*To allow flexible usage of the Stadium, accommodating a vibrant programme of events allowing year round access for schools, the local community, the wider public and elite sport.

Baroness Ford said: "There has been an immense amount of time, work and effort expended by both bidders and their teams, and I want to thank them both sincerely. I also want to commend the diligence and focus of our Stadium team whose level of dedication and excellence has been outstanding."

The process began in March last year when interested parties were invited to make expressions of interest. Substantial interest in the Stadium was received.

This was followed up with a formal bidding process for the long-term Stadium lease in August, before the two shortlisted consortia were announced in October - West Ham United and the London Borough of Newham and Tottenham Hotspur with AEG.

Since then, the Legacy Company has been in negotiations with both parties to better understand the merits of their bids and the positive impact on the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The Board's recommendation will now go to the Legacy Company's founder members - the Mayor's Office and the Government - for approval. If approval is given, contractual negotiations will then begin in earnest with the preferred bidder.