Spurs, West Ham finalists for 2012 Olympic Stadium

Premier League clubs Tottenham and West Ham were selected Friday

as the final bidders to take over London’s Olympic Stadium after

the 2012 Games.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company says it will enter into final

negotiations with the London rivals and finalize a deal by March

31.

The legacy company previously said it wanted a commitment to

keep the stadium running track as part of any bid, but Friday’s

announcement said the requirement could be waived for ”a credible

alternative.”

Tottenham’s application with American sports and entertainment

giant AEG involves removing the track from the 80,000-seat stadium.

West Ham’s joint bid with its local government keeps the track.

”We started this process to ensure the very best legacy for the

stadium, and we are now at a point where we have selected the two

strongest bids,” legacy company chair Margaret Ford said. ”The

stadium is a vital and vibrant component of the Olympic Park.

”Securing the most appropriate and viable solution is crucial

for our long-term aspirations for the future Queen Elizabeth

Olympic Park area.”

The stadium will have an 80,000-seat capacity for the Olympics,

hosting the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field

competition.

The stadium was originally designed to be reduced to 25,000

seats after the Olympics, but the bids by the Premier League clubs

would mean having a capacity of around 60,000. The stadium is also

part of Britain’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

London Olympic organizers had promised to keep track as a

primary legacy of the stadium when they successfully bid for the

games in 2005.

West Ham officials have long spoken of their desire to move from

the 35,000-capacity Upton Park stadium to the London 2012 Stadium

some 2 miles away.

But Tottenham’s expression of interest last month was a surprise

since it had already been granted permission to build a

56,250-capacity stadium adjacent to its current White Hart Lane

home.

Announcing its full-year financial results Thursday, Tottenham

said it was considering the Olympic Stadium after a local

government requirement to preserve four historic buildings had

added $80.7 million to the cost of a new stadium.

White Hart Lane, 5 1/2 miles from the Olympic Stadium, holds

36,310 fans. Tottenham sold out every Premier League game last

season and has another 33,000 on a waiting list for season

tickets.