Hammers hit with Olympic Stadium blow

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Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell has dealt a blow to West Ham's proposed move to London's Olympic Stadium by insisting that the venue's primary purpose will be to host grand prix athletics.

David Gold and David Sullivan completed a takeover of the Barclays Premier League strugglers last month and immediately set about looking at ways to improve the financially perilous state of the club.

The main policy of the duo's bid to rescue the Hammers was to leave Upton Park and move to the capital's 80,000 capacity Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

But Jowell said: "Let's be clear about this. It will be a grand prix athletics stadium because we need one. We have made that commitment, that was one of the reasons that we bid to win the Games and so that is a given."

Officials insist that the Games must leave a legacy to athletics in east London and are adamant that grand prix meetings will be held at the stadium.

That could prove a stumbling block for Sullivan and Gold, who would prefer to host matches without having an athletics track around the pitch.

The government has set up the Olympic Park Legacy Company to resolve what the stadium's purpose will be after the Games.

Jowell criticised the new owners' decision to publicly state the club was ready to relocate to Stratford, and insisted that any move will have to be sanctioned by the committee.

She said: "I don't think you can jump from a press conference where the new owners sit down and say we'd like to move to the to Olympic Stadium to how it might work.

"In order to make sure we maximise the legacy of the park, we have set up the Olympic Park Legacy Company and they will shortly be inviting bids and business plans from any business that wants to apply for a commercial stake in the stadium.

"If West Ham want to make a bid at that time it will be considered alongside all the others."

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