EPL West Ham United’s deal to move into London's Olympic Stadium could be completed "within weeks after legacy chiefs reported good progress in negotiations," according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. The commercial terms of the 99-year lease are agreed in principle after both sides "reached a compromise on key sticking points, including a windfall tax on any profit on the future sale of the club" by Owners David Sullivan and David Gold. However, lawyers for the London Legacy Development Corp. "need more time to make the contract watertight in the face of a likely legal challenge" by rejected bidder League One Leyton Orient. The process to find an anchor tenant for the £431M ($575M) stadium, funded by the taxpayer, "has already collapsed once following a state aid complaint to the European Commission" (LONDON TIMES, 2/20).
SPEEDING UP THE PROCESS: The London EVENING STANDARD reported talks between the two sides in the private meeting "were positive." London Mayor Boris Johnson "echoed those sentiments." Johnson said, "Tax payers put a huge amount of money, £500M ($667m), in to building an iconic stadium, and they put further money in to doing it up. We have got to get the best possible terms for the tax payer." If the deal is reached within weeks, that "will come as comforting news to organisers of the 2015 Rugby World Cup," who need to know by the end of next month whether they will be able to use the stadium for the event. Johnson said, "It would be great to do it" (EVENING STANDARD, 2/20).