The process to decide who will become anchor tenants of London's Olympic stadium following this year's Games has been extended by eight weeks to address “a number of issues”, the London Legacy Development Corporation said on Monday.
West Ham United, who are one game away from a return to the Premier League, were one of only four confirmed bidders for the 500 million pounds ($804.85 million) venue by the original deadline in March.
However, the London Legacy Development Corporation said in a statement they were extending the process to allow all parties who registered to receive the Invitation to Tender (ITT) additional time to submit bids.
It said some had been discouraged because of governing body approvals, naming rights issues and technical improvements.
“We are determined to run a process that is fair to all and delivers the best possible legacy for the Olympic Stadium,” chief executive Andrew Altman said.
“We have been very encouraged by the quality of the bids so far. However, a number of issues have arisen during the process and we believe it is sensible to give everyone more time so they can be addressed.”
What happens to the stadium after the Games has become a long-running saga with some fearing the 80,000-seater venue, which will be scaled down, could become a white elephant.
Initial plans to sell the stadium to West Ham after the Games fell apart last October with the government citing “legal paralysis” after a challenge from Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur whose initial bid was turned down.
Whatever happens, an athletics track will remain in place as the 2017 world championships will be staged in the stadium that will now remain in public ownership.
Despite the eight-week extension, it is still hoped the future of the stadium will be decided by October.
“Extending the competition period will allow all parties that registered an initial interest in the stadium another chance to bid,” Altman added.
“The fundamentals have not changed and it remains our intention to sign construction contracts for converting the stadium at the end of October, with the intention of re-opening in 2014 as previously announced.”
The stadium, which will hold the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field events, was officially opened earlier this month when it hosted the British Universities championships followed by a night of entertainment in front of 40,000 ticket holders. ($1 = 0.6212 British pounds)