The 1908 Olympics were due to be held in Rome, but the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 left Italy needing to divert resources into disaster relief and rebuilding. With time running out, the International Olympic Committee asked Britain to step in as host. That gave London less than two years to prepare. But with Lord Desborough, the British Olympic Association's chairman, to the fore, and the support of King Edward VII, the challenge was accepted. A Franco-Britannic Exhibition was to be held in West London in 1908, and Desborough signed a deal that meant, in return for a share of gate receipts, the exhibition organisers agreed to fund and build a 66,000-capacity stadium next to their site, and even donated £2,000 towards its running costs.