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Boris: a long way to go

Filed: Wednesday, 5th December 2012
By: Staff Writer

London mayor Boris Johnson has revealed his reasons for granting West Ham United FC "preferred bidder" status for the Olympic Stadium - whilst insisting that a deal is far from complete.

West Ham United were named as preferred tenants for the Stratford-based arena this lunchtime by the London Legacy Development Corporation - although much is yet to be done before the club can rubber-stamp their move from the Boleyn Ground, where West Ham have played since 1905.

"We have got a first-ranked bidder for the stadium," Johnson, speaking at a lunchtime press conference, said. "Four good bids came in as everybody knows, but the bid that has been ranked top is West Ham United and I'm very pleased about that.

"It will, if it goes through, mean a football legacy for the stadium but it needs to be sorted out. There's a lot of negotiation still to go on between the LLDC and West Ham United about the terms of that particular deal.

"I want to repeat what I've said throughout which is that if we can't do a deal that protects taxpayer value and the Olympic investment of 9.3billion - half-a-billion pounds [of which went] on building the stadium alone - then that's fine, as the stadium will have a fantastic future in any event.

"We are very confident that there is plenty of time to get the negotiations under way and are we to go with a Plan B - which includes lots of cultural events, lots of sporting events, lots of operators coming forward to say how they can animate the stadium in a way that would really draw huge numbers of people to the park, we can get all that going.

"But we think we've got plenty of time to get in a football solution - if that is what we get in time for 2016, 2017.

"It's just a question of making sure that an asset which is a public asset - something that the taxpayers have put half-a-billion pounds into that the value of that is properly reflected in the commercial deal that is now being done with a private sector entity. People will understand that my job is to get the best possible deal for the taxpayer."

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by Dave Mukkaconcharby
01:59PM 5th Dec 2012
''I want WHU in the Olympic stadium but I dont think it's ever going to happen. It just feels like "keep them interested, keep them interested, keep them interested, awwwwww someones come in with a better offer thats more agreeable to us - sorry west Ham". There's plenty of time for this scenario to happen now that the OS is three to four years away from reopening. Surely I'm not the only one who thinks this? Preferred bidder my arse.''

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