Stadium future to be settled before Olympics

The future of London's Olympic Stadium should be settled before the Games next year after bidders were invited to apply again to use the venue following the collapse of a deal to sell it to West Ham United.

The stadium in East London, which has cost 486 million pounds to build, will retain an athletics track and have its capacity cut to 60,000 after the Games from 80,000. It will host the World Athletics Championships in 2017.

Local club West Ham, now playing in the second-tier of English football, remain the most likely anchor tenant of a venue that will remain in public ownership.

However, the Olympic Park Legacy Company, which is managing the process, stressed that other sports and events could also share the stadium.

"We welcome football but it's not solely dependent on football," Andrew Altman, chief executive of the OPLC said.

"There are other combinations of other sports, concerts and activities that can also provide revenue," he told the BBC.

Two Premiership rugby union clubs are believed to be interested in using the stadium.

The government dropped plans to sell the stadium to West Ham in October, citing "legal paralysis" after Premier League Tottenham Hotspur challenged the decision.

Tottenham have since indicated that they intend to focus on building a new stadium adjacent to their historic home in North London.

Bidders to use the stadium on leases of between five and 99 years have until March to apply, with a decision expected two months later. The Games will take place from July 27-August 12.

Conversion of the stadium, part financed by a 40 million investment from Newham local council, should be complete by 2014.

Naming rights to the stadium would be another potential source of income, with the revenues likely to be divided between the main tenant and the OPLC.

"The Olympic Stadium is an iconic venue and I am sure that it will attract interesting and exciting bids for its future use," said Sports Minister Hugh Robertson.