Boris Johnson calls for patience over Olympic Stadium delay

18:35 14 November 2012

The Olympic Stadium. Picture: Andy Wilkes

The Olympic Stadium. Picture: Andy Wilkes

Archant

Boris Johnson has pleaded for patience in the long running saga over the future of the Olympic Stadium.

West Ham United FC remains the favourite to take control of the Stratford venue - but legacy bosses have admitted any bidder is not likely to move in before 2015, a year later than expected.

The stadium will require expensive renovation and adaptation before it is ready for use.

Speaking to the London Assembly today as chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Mr Johnson said: “In an ideal world I would like to see it open as quickly as possible, I’d like to see it open in 2014.

“I think Londoners have to be a little bit patient.

“They have to recognise that this thing was not built to be the kind of omnipurpose, world class stadium capable of hosting Premiership football that it should be.

“There is a very clear choice for us - do we want to rush ahead with a reopening or do we want to go ahead with an adaptation that will develop a world-class facility.”

Asked by City and London East AM John Biggs whether he would see it as a failure if the venue is not open before the next Olympics start in Rio, Mr Johnson said: “I think that the park is going to be a great success, and I think that the stadium is going to be a great success.”

Three other parties, Leyton Orient - on a groundshare basis -, a consortium acting on behalf of Formula 1, and UCFB College of Football Business are also in the running.

Mr Johnson was non-committal when asked if the NFL had expressed an interest in staging matches at the stadium. A decision is expected by the end of December.

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