West Ham to Not Submit Formal Bid for Olympic Stadium

January 25, 2012

West Ham United have decided against submitting a formal bid for the Olympic Stadium unless they are given clarity over what the Olympic Park legacy Company wants from bidders.

The east London based club are now said to be reconsidering their plans to move to the stadium in Stratford.

An interest in a 99-year lease had been expressed by the club, who are top of the Championship, but no work will begin on any significant plan until the Olympic Park Legacy Company offer greater clarity about what is being asked of bidders.

Concerns have been raised over the share of naming-rights revenue, match-day branding, flexibility on fixtures and the identity of any co-tenants.

Rugby union side London Wasps are said to be seriously considering a move to the Olympic Stadium and have expressed an interest in the course of its due diligence. But West Ham would reportedly not be interested in sharing with a rugby team because of the damage to the pitch.

With UK Athletics using the stadium over the summer there would only be a fortnight window for the pitch to be made ready for football.

According to reports in the Times, West Ham are cold on the idea of wasting more money on another bid without there being more clarity, while they are also concerned about starting the process to sell their current home Upton Park unless they know for certain they are moving to the Olympic Stadium.

West Ham are thought to have spent nearly £1 million on the process of their first bid.

They are not the only London football club who are considering their options.

Leyton Orient are full participants in the “expressions of interest” phase, and are considering what kind of offer they might be able to make to the increasingly anxious OPLC

An issue for both football clubs is that the OPLC will retain the power to force tenants to share with each other.

The “pairing” system means that tenants have no choice about who they share with, meaning that the OPLC could impose a rugby club in a ground-share with West Ham, or pursue sharing between West Ham and Orient.

That would present a bigger problem to West Ham than to Leyton Orient.