2015 Rugby World Cup
Olympic Stadium boost for World Cup
ESPN Staff
March 15, 2013

The Olympic Stadium has edged nearer becoming a 2015 Rugby World Cup venue with the confirmation that West Ham United FC will become the long-term tenants.

RWC'15 Venues Long List

  • 1. Villa Park, Birmingham
  • 2. Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
  • 3. Sandy Park, Exeter*
  • 4. Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
  • 5. Coventry Stadium, Coventry
  • 6. Pride Park, Derby
  • 7. Kingsholm, Gloucester
  • 8. Elland Road, Leeds
  • 9. Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
  • 10. Olympic Stadium, London
  • 11. Twickenham Stadium, London
  • 12. Wembley Stadium, London
  • 13. Old Trafford, Manchester
  • 14. Stadiummk, Milton Keynes
  • 15. St James' Park, Newcastle
  • 16. St Mary's Stadium, Southampton
  • 17. Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • *Note - Replaced the original choice of Ashton Gate, Bristol

The iconic stadium was included on the 17-venue long list announced by England Rugby 2015 (ER2015), the tournament organisers, last year but hopes that it may feature appeared to fade due to delays in the signing off of a tenancy deal and subsequent issues regarding the timeframe for the construction work required to reconfigure the layout with the capacity set to drop from 80,000 to 60,000.

But ER2015 revealed earlier this month that they were still in discussions with all the proposed venues with a final decision regarding the 12 sites to stage matches recently postponed to allow time for the future of the Olympic Stadium to be confirmed.

That clarification came today with West Ham, named as the preferred bidders to take over the stadium three months ago, set to be announced as the anchor tenants by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) with issues regarding the funding of the required construction work understood to have been resolved.

The BBC reports that work to transform the stadium will begin the with construction of a roof in the autumn with officials confident it will be ready for rugby's showpiece event in two and a half years' time. After that the stadium will close again to reconfigure the stadium's lower seating bowl and re-open in time for West Ham to start playing their games there in August 2016.

However, the name of the stadium is set to change with reports suggesting the International Olympic Committee and the British Olympic Association set to prevent the use of the word "Olympic" in any future naming of the venue unless the sponsor is also one of the Olympics' commercial partners.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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