West Ham United on Tuesday was selected as the “first-ranked bidder” for London’s Olympic Stadium but city mayor Boris Johnson was quick to warn that he would pursue other options if a deal could not be reached with the English Premier League club. The decision means that West Ham is now back where it was last year, when its preferred bidder standing collapsed under a legal challenge.
However, there are several important issues that still need to be resolved, including: who will pay for the stadium conversion, securing planning permission, and the finalization of commercial terms as well as approval from the relevant sports governing bodies. Additionally, the city needs to be able to retain a portion of stadium profits if West Ham happens to be sold by its current owners, and any deal would also need to include “a mechanism to protect the taxpayers’ investment in the stadium were the value of the club to increase significantly through a change in location.”
As Mayor Johnson said, “We’ve got plenty of time also to get a football solution in time for 2016-17.”