A "roadmap" which could see American athletes set up camp in Birmingham during the 2012 Olympic Games will be signed today by US sports chiefs and the city council.
The document will make formal an "agreement in principle" announced last March that the athletes would be based in the city, but it is not legally binding.
John Chaplin, chairman for the USA men's track and field team and city council leader Mike Whitby both said a binding agreement would not become a reality until at least 2009.
The Memorandum of Understanding was announced yesterday at a hastily-arranged press conference after The Birmingham Post revealed that USA Track and Field and the council would be staging crunch talks this weekend.
Mr Chaplin said: "We have signed a road-map which will show our commitment to Birmingham. But when taking into account the Middle East roadmap, we all know that these things take a long time.
"We also have to wait until our coaches are elected in 2009 before we can get down to the nitty gritty.
"The Chinese would love to have these excellent facilities but we have got in ahead of them."
Mr Chaplin said the US team was not able to sign a legal agreement because they did not yet know what their needs would be.
He said: "Imagine if we said we wanted the use of this park. However, then we were told that the cost of implementing security on this park has gone up from £30,000 to £80.000. This might cause problems in terms of finance.
"This type of situation would not be ideal for Birmingham or for USA Track and Field. So we cannot make that kind of commitment yet.
"But the signing of this memorandum shows our commitment to coming to Birmingham ahead of the London 2012 Olympics Games."
A colleague of Mr Chaplin's told The Post this week that American athletics chiefs had talked with other cities following last March's announcement that they were on the verge of committing themselves to Birmingham.
Stephanie Hightower also said there were financial issues which still had to be settled, including transportation costs, hotel rates and security.
Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) announced last March that the council and the Americans were "close to reaching an agreement", a move which he described as a "tremendous coup".
Yesterday he said the memorandum represented a "formal" agreement of that "principle". However, it was not legally binding.
He said: "The memorandum commits ourselves to the principle that we announced last year. Nothing has changed.
"Budget and costs still have to be negotiated but that does not mean there is a delay. I had to do the same thing with the Conservative Party Conference.
"We already had an agreement in principle that they were coming, but now, after they have analysed our facilities, we have both signed a Memorandum of Understanding which makes that a reality.
"I am looking forward now to welcoming them to Birmingham and to them enjoying our facilities at the 2008 Olympic Games."
The memorandum will be signed at the Norwich Union Grand Prix which is being staged at the National Indoor Arena today.