Re-opening of Olympic Stadium for football still four years away

West Ham United named the "first-ranked bidder", although they may have to wait awhile

Work to convert the Olympic Stadium for its post-Games future is unlikely to begin for about another year despite West Ham United being named the "first-ranked bidder" today as the convoluted process took another baby step forward.

It means the stadium will not be ready to host matches at the 2015 Rugby World Cup – it is on the shortlist – although the snail's pace at which the project is advancing could mean it hosts athletics meetings next summer before construction work begins. If the deal is done for West Ham to move in, it is likely to be 2016 before they physically can do so – which would be after the opening ceremony for the Rio Olympics.

The board of the London Legacy Development Corporation today selected West Ham's as the first choice from four bids on the table – they ruled out Leyton Orient's and a proposal to stage a Formula One race in and around the stadium, and will consider accommodating a business and football college there once the West Ham deal has been finalised.

Boris Johnson, who chairs the LLDC, remains wary of delivering a stadium built and converted with public funding to a Premier League football club without significant accompanying caveats. The London mayor supports the idea of top-flight football being placed at the core of the stadium's future but insists West Ham will have to offer further commercial guarantees before any deal can be completed.

Yesterday's move signals the start of detailed negotiations – both parties say there is no deadline set, although the LLDC hope that it will be settled by March next year. That would signal an autumn start for conversion works on the roof and the installation of retractable seating no more than 16.9 metres from the pitch on all sides. Conversion costs are estimated at £150m.

West Ham remain deeply committed to the move, as they have been since the original process begun – last year they were granted the lease ahead of Tottenham Hotspur only for the government to restart the bidding following legal challenges.

The club believe the two sides are close to agreement. But Johnson wants to ensure that if West Ham were awarded the 99-year lease and the club's owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, then sought to sell the club, there would be some sort of share in any profit for the taxpayer. West Ham maintain that the owners have no interest whatsoever in selling their 65 per cent stake in the club.

The LLDC also want further financial contributions from West Ham, whether through future commercial revenues or towards the conversion costs. Johnson claims that if no deal is reached with the club there is a "plan B" which would entail the stadium hosting concerts and other commercial and sporting events, in particular athletics. That, though, would in all likelihood result in the stadium being run at a loss and requiring on-going public subsidy.

Barry Hearn, chairman of Leyton Orient, is considering whether to mount a legal challenge. He claims the move will kill off his club.

Football's fight

March 2010 West Ham and Newham council announce they are working on a joint bid for the stadium.

Nov '10 Spurs and West Ham are named by Olympic Park Legacy Company as final bidders.

Feb '11 Hammers win bid.

Oct '11 Deal with Newham collapses after judicial review sparked by Spurs and Leyton Orient.

Today West Ham confirmed as preferred bidders.

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?