Six big weeks for Hammers

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Football News

West Ham have six weeks in which to finalise their plans for moving into the Olympic Stadium following the launch of the formal bidding process.

The Barclays Premier League club are among a group of interested parties hoping to win a long-term lease of the venue after the 2012 London Olympic Games. They are finalising plans on how to fund the post-Olympics conversion of the stadium into a year-round multi-purpose venue.

West Ham's Olympic Projects Director Ian Tompkins said: "We have six weeks to officially respond to a number of questions. We are confident that at the end of the day, ours can be a viable solution. We can make it work."

The club plan to meet with representatives from the Melbourne Cricket Ground - a similarly adaptable venue - and they have already been holding talks with UK Athletics, Saracens rugby club and Essex County Cricket Club.

Tompkins is aware that not all of their supporter base is behind the club's proposed move from their traditional home at Upton Park.

Fans are concerned about the impact on atmosphere of having a running track around the pitch and that seats will be too far away from the action. But West Ham are confident that will not be a problem. The furthest seats from the pitch, those up high behind the goal, would be taken out and replaced by big screens as part of the conversion.

West Ham are working on their bid in conjunction with Newham Council - and both are excited by the potential knock-on beneifts of the club moving into the Olympic Stadium.

"An important part of our bid is the domino effect," said Tompkins. "The proposal Newham is developing in conjunction with ourselves is for the warm-up track to be a community facility.

"We have spoken with Newham and Essex Beagles (athletics club), London Marathon and others about how that would work. If Essex Beagles were to use the community track that would free up their existing facilty.

"Newham have talked about expanding cricket facilities in the area. That has led to discussions with Essex, who are equally keen on developing a presence in East London. The other double benefit of West Ham United moving is that our existing Upton Park site would open the door to a much-needed wider regeneration of the surrounding area."

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