West Ham and Spurs forced to wait as Olympic Stadium verdict is put on hold

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The Independent Football

A decision on the future of the Olympic Stadium will not be made this week after the Olympic Park Legacy Company announced that it needed "clarification" from the two contenders, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur.

The two Premier League clubs submitted their bids on Friday. The OPLC's stadium team, led by Baroness Ford and Andrew Altman, the chair and chief executive, spent the weekend and yesterday morning examining their proposals before deciding they would not be in a position to call a meeting of the board on Friday to recommend a post-Games tenant. The OPLC still hopes to make the decision within the next couple of weeks and certainly long before the deadline of the end of March.

A statement from the OPLC read: "Given the detailed nature of both bids received, we need more time to seek further clarification with both bidders. The Stadium is a significant public asset and we have a duty to run a robust process. Securing the most appropriate solution for the Stadium is vital to our long-term aspirations for the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the wider regeneration of the area."

The statement also reiterated that there remains a third possibility of the £537m stadium being reduced to a 25,000-capacity athletics arena, although the cost to the public purse, around £5m a year, means that is still unlikely.

West Ham and Tottenham, and various interested parties, have become embroiled in increasingly rancorous exchanges over the past couple of weeks, despite appeals not to from the OPLC.

Both plan 60,000-seat capacities but Tottenham, who are seen as the financially more secure bidder, want to demolish the stadium, while West Ham will reduce the existing structure, and keep the running track. The east London club are perceived as the more natural fit and truer to the original legacy promise. Yesterday Donna Cullen, an executive director of Tottenham, counter-attacked Lord Coe's weekend claim that her club's bid was "inconceivable".

Cullen said: "The original promise of legacy that Lord Coe has been very vocal about can't be delivered." She added that Tottenham's bid, which includes redeveloping Crystal Palace athletics stadium, is one that is "sustainable, that leaves a legacy and that avoids a white elephant".

Sections of the Tottenham support remain unconvinced. Tim Framp, a spokesman for fans' group "We are N17", said: "We'd be selling our soul to the devil if we moved there."

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