West Ham were the unanimous decision to be the Olympic Stadium's preferred bidder (Reuters)
West Ham were the unanimous favourites for Olympic Stadium preferred bidder (Reuters)

West Ham United have been named preferred bidder to take over the Olympic Stadium following a meeting of the London Legacy Development Corporation.

The Premier League club can now enter into negotiations for the 99-year lease for the stadium after the LLDC unanimously agreed they should be ranked highest of the bids received.

Other bids for the £429m stadium have been made by League 1 club Leyton Orient, Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, and the UCFB College of Football Business.

LLDC chairman and London mayor Boris Johnson said: "We had four good bids, as everybody knows. The bid that has been ranked top is West Ham United. I am very pleased about that. It will, if it goes through, mean a football legacy for the stadium - but there is still a lot of negotiation to go between the LLDC and West Ham United about the terms of the deal."

Dennis Hone, chief executive of the LLDC, said: "Today's decision on the stadium represents an important milestone towards reopening the Olympic Stadium.

"If we are to have a football tenant, West Ham and other parties will need to meet the conditions the board has set out. If a deal is not possible then we will bring the stadium back into use as soon as possible.  In any event we are exploring options to hold events in summer 2013."

It has been reported that West Ham's owners must agree to share the profits of any future sale of the club before any move can go through.

In a joint statement, West Ham's owners David Gold and David Sullivan said: ''We believe that this move, together with the realisation of other key goals that the board set out to achieve from the outset, will play a huge part in helping to realise our ambitious vision to move the club to the next level on behalf of our fantastic and deserving fans.

"Our absolute priority is to take them with us, as well as enticing those supporters that have previously eluded us due to barriers such as affordability and accessibility.

"We are dedicated to West Ham United and the stadium for the long haul. We are now committed to working with the LLDC in full consultation with our supporters to finalise our plans to make the Stadium our home.

West Ham would be moving two miles from its 35,000-capacity Upton Park ground to a stadium downsized from 80,000 seats at the Olympics to 60,000, making it the joint second largest in the league with Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

The club also plan to add retractable seating and fully extending the roof to make it suitable for both football and athletics at a cost of between £130m and £150m, on top of the £429m it cost to build the stadium.

A previous deal for West Ham to take up the lease collapsed in October 2011 because legal challenges from Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur.

The International Association of Athletics Federations has confirmed that the stadium will host the 2017 World Athletics Championships.