Vice-Chairman Karren Brady has spoken about her vision for the West Ham United's proposed move to Stratford in a feature in the Guardian newspaper.
The article is featured in full below:
Karren Brady insists West Ham United the best option for Olympic Stadium
- Vice-chair says club would make legacy hopes a reality
- Boris Johnson has taken control of final negotiations
By Owen Gibson
As final negotiations over the future of the Olympic Stadium enter a crucial stage, the West Ham United vice-chair, Karren Brady, has insisted that the club's proposal will deliver a lasting legacy.
Boris Johnson this week took personal control of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), moving the chairman, Daniel Moylan, to a new role chairing an aviation review after less than four months in the job. One of the mayor's most pressing tasks will be to try to strike a deal with West Ham amid protracted negotiations over the terms of any tenancy deal. On top of the £95m in public money already pledged to convert the stadium into a permanent venue with a full roof and hospitality facilities, the east London club are believed to want the LLDC to contribute towards retractable seating and other costs.
Brady will make the argument that by handing the main tenancy to a Premier League football club, it will bring benefits to the Olympic Park and wider area above and beyond its rental contribution, including enhancing the value of naming rights and helping make it a popular destination.
"I noted with interest Lord Coe's comments on Sunday about his desire to find a workable solution where athletics and other sports can operate together side-by-side," Brady said. "His comments instantly struck a chord with me, as I firmly believe that our proposal will ensure that his vision would become a reality should we be given the opportunity to do so."
It is understood that Johnson is keen to conclude a deal and anxious to avoid any potential delay in reopening the park from July next year onwards. But the LLDC's interim chief executive, Dennis Hone, will be keen to ensure that the figures add up and some on the board believe the success of the Olympics, which proved the stadium will work as an athletics and music venue, have strengthened their negotiating hand with West Ham.
"In addition to bringing the most exciting and most watched football league in the world to Stratford, we would ensure that the stadium retains the Olympic legacy that Lord Coe feels so passionately about," Brady argued. "The truly multi‑sport capabilities of the arena would mean our award-winning community sports trust, which already helps tens of thousands of children a year, can further extend its multi-sports coaching to the next generation of potential Olympic athletes."
The saga of the future of the £468m stadium has been long and drawn out, punctuated by missed opportunities, legal battles and expensive mistakes. The original deal with West Ham had to be scrapped amid legal challenges from Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient.
But Coe said at the close of the Games that it remained "perfectly within the wit and wisdom of all of us to make a multi-purpose sporting arena work for track and field". The LLDC hopes to reopen the south end of the park, including the stadium, by spring 2014.
Brady said that West Ham's bid would also help further the legacy aims of the LLDC and the government.
"Our bid revolves around creating a sporting hub that the community of east London and beyond can use to better themselves; whether that be through sport, education or simply living a healthier lifestyle," she said.
"We have all watched in wonder at the historic scenes created in the Olympic Stadium and I believe it would now be unthinkable to not maintain this new global landmark as a stunning, world-class sporting venue that can inspire hundreds of thousands of people through the power of sport."
*Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of West Ham United