Q&A: London 2012 Olympic Stadium ownership

Aerial shot of Olympic Stadium
The stadium cost £500m to build, and will now remain in public ownership

The deal to award West Ham the Olympic Stadium after the London 2012 Games collapsed early on Tuesday morning.

The board of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) ended negotiations with the club amid concerns over delays caused by a legal dispute with Tottenham and League One side Leyton Orient.

Hammers vice-chairman Karren Brady, O's chairman Barry Hearn and UK Athletics chief Ed Warner have been quoted as saying that their individual aims remain the same - to get the best outcome possible for each of their clubs and the UK Athletics 'legacy'.

But what does it mean for the clubs involved? And why has has the situation come to this point? BBC Sport correspondent Gordon Farquhar explains:

Q. How have we arrived at this situation?

A. Essentially, because of an anonymous complaint to the European Commission. The possibility of a European Court legal challenge to the original bidding process proved to be the final straw for the Olympic Park Legacy company, already facing domestic High Court legal challenges from Spurs and Orient. The OPLC, whose job it is to get the best value for money for taxpayers from the Olympic investment, could see months or potentially years of uncertainty whilst the courts made their minds up, so they, along with the Government and London mayor's office, decided to pull the plug and start all over again.

Q. What happens now and what are the options?

A. Well, we're back to stage one, this time with a different plan. Now a rent-paying tenant will be sought, with the stadium to be kept in public ownership. That means all the debate last time about whether or not the track and warm-up area would be kept won't happen. It will be. The tenants will be offered a stadium in a suitable state for the purpose they intend to put it to. Of course, it's highly likely to be a football club - West Ham have already declared they'll be bidding, and Barry Hearn says Orient will be in the mix.

Tottenham have not indicated, but presumably they will not be interested as their vision for redeveloping the site was all about ownership and a complete redesign, and that possibility's not on offer this time. It would be a major surprise if the new tenant was not a football club, and frankly one that plays in claret and blue, but the rental proposal might pull in others interested in a multi-sport and concert use that can be made to pay its way. Like last time, the bidding process will have to be drafted and bids invited, with a process of assessment, and that will take a while.

Q. Is this embarrassing or damaging in any way to London/GB?

A. It doesn't look great that this issue will probably not be resolved until just a couple of months out from the start of the games. After all the talk at bid time of legacy, not to have secured a clear one for the stadium at this point is an uncomfortable reality for the stakeholder. This does, however, remove any uncertainty about the 2017 London World Athletics Championship bid, ahead of the decision in November, so that will be seen as a 'good thing'. Politicians and organisers will also argue that previous games have failed to grasp the legacy nettle at all, and it's better to spend time and a little sweat now making the right decision than getting to the end of the games with a bunch of facilities that no-one wants to use, like Athens, and having to face justifiable criticism. Clearly, they'll have to take this on the chin for now, but history might not judge them too unkindly.

Q. Will the taxpayer be hit in any way?

A. The taxpayer already has in the sense that the stadium's costing so much to build. There's a lot of money going idle if this situation cannot be resolved. We do know that the annual running costs of the stadium are estimated to be in the region of £5m. The tenants will be expected to pay an economically realistic rent for their use, and presumably there will be some freedom for the landlords to stage money generating events at the stadium outside of the football season. Politicians say there will not be an impact, and the re-development of the stadium will be paid for by public to public funding with no net impact on taxpayers.

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