Inside Lines: Hammers likely to get their stadium minus Olympic ring

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The Independent Online

The prospect of West Ham moving into London's Olympic Stadium after 2012 is becoming more realistic, with the Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell, now showing enthusiasm for the idea and John Armitt, chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, saying that staging both football and athletics there is feasible. So the ball is now in the court of the club's new vice-chair, Karren Brady, to help make it workable. And if anyone can help the hapless Hammers hit the nail on the head it is surely the feisty first lady of football. Her opening declaration was that she would like to see the Hammers move into the 2012 stadium and the club renamed West Ham Olympic. The latter is a pipe dream, as the International Olympic Committee would certainly put a block on it, so touchy are they about the use of the Olympic trademark. The main stumbling block is that West Ham would want to lease rather than buy the new stadium, and would also want to dismantle the running track that Seb Coe & Co have pledged is sacrosanct as part of London's Olympic legacy. Let's hope Brady and her two co-chairmen will have the wit and wisdom between them to work something out moneywise because, as the shadow sports minister, Hugh Robertson, says, it would be ideal to have the Hammers, the club slap bang in the middle of London's Olympic heartland, occupying it. "I have a high opinion of Karren Brady and want to see a proper, commercially viable legacy for the Olympic stadium post-2012," he says. "The issue of the running track can easily be overcome because the stadium is so much more compact than dual-use stadia of an earlier generation. West Ham would also be worthy occupiers because their community programme does so much for young people across the East End – which was a key 2012 objective." Some form of retractable or roll-over seating, à la Paris's Stade de France, could be a solution and probably would not cost more than a couple of mid-table Premier League forwards. Brady says she is "good at having ideas", so you can bet she will come up with something.

In league with Caborn?

Although standing down as a Sheffield MP after the next election, the former sports minister Richard Caborn is unlikely to be queuing for a jobseeker's allowance. He is in line for a peerage, and while he may have been offloaded by Lord Triesman from England's 2018 World Cup bid team he is tipped to take over from Lord Mawhinney as chair of the Football League. There are other political contenders, including the former defence secretary Geoff Hoon, but Caborn has the clout and connections – the Premier League chair, Sir Dave Richards, also from Sheffield, is one of his closest friends.

No Blair witch hunt

Tony Blair faced another inquisition yesterday, answering questions from politicians and sports leaders from Brazil about the effect winning the 2012 Olympics has had on Britain. Rio is next up in 2016 and the city's governor, Serge Cabral, says London was the inspiration for their bid. So no doubt the probing was gentler than that of the Chilcot inquiry. Unless, of course, one of the Brazilian delegates asked him if he had any regrets about the shooting of their compatriot Jean Charles de Menezes just a few days after London's winning bid.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

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