West Ham stadium move ratified, but Orient threaten legal action
The government and the mayor of London have both ratified West Ham’s takeover of the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.
WEST HAM UNITED’S move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford has been ratified by both London Mayor Boris Johnson and the coalition government this morning (Thursday).
The Hammers joint bid with Newham Council had been chosen as the preferred bidder over Tottenham Hotspur by the Olympic Park Legacy Company last month, and now they have been given official backing to move into the stadium for the start of the 2014 season, hopefully in the Premier League.
West Ham United Vice-Chairman Karren Brady said: “I am pleased and proud the Mayor of London and the Government have today endorsed the Olympic Park Legacy Company’s recommendation that West Ham United and Newham Council be preferred bidder for the Olympic Stadium.
“I am grateful for their support and the clear recognition of the strengths of a financially strong, community-based bid that will do much for the regeneration of east London.
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“At this time, I must also personally thank Baroness Ford and Andy Altman of the OPLC for the thorough and professional way they have handled this entire process. I look forward to working with them in the future and making their vision a reality.
“At West Ham, we have been entrusted with a great responsibility and the OPLC’s unanimous backing will only inspire us further to make good on our legacy promises.
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“In many ways, the hard work starts now. The starting gun has been fired and we are off and running. This will be an Olympic Stadium to make everyone proud, a multi-sports, multi-event arena that will be both a spectacular local and global attraction. We will not let anyone down.”
In welcoming today’s developments, the OPLC said: “We are pleased that the Mayor and Ministers have approved our recommendation. We look forward to working with the preferred bidder, West Ham United and the London Borough of Newham, in order to bring the future of the Stadium to a financial close.”
Meanwhile, Leyton Orient will look to put a spanner in the works by writing to the Premier League and threatening to sue for damages if they do not reconsider their decision to allow West Ham to move to the Olympic Stadium.
Orient fear that West Ham’s move to the Stadium, which is less than a mile away from Brisbane Road, could cost them up to �1.5million a year.
Chairman Barry Hearn argues that the League have ignored their own rules by giving West Ham the go-ahead to move following the 2012 Olympics.
The rule states that the League would allow a club to move grounds provided the switch would not adversely affect clubs in the immediate vicinity of the proposed location.
West Ham’s plans to reduce ticket prices if they move to the Olympic Stadium has set the alarm bells ringing for Hearn and the club have sent a document to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, outlining their case.
Orient have made it clear that High Court action is a possibility if the League do not reverse their decision, or explain more thoroughly how they reached it.
Their case though will be a difficult one to win now that West Ham have received the backing of the government and with nothing at the site due to start until after the Olympic and Paralympic Games finish at the end of next summer, any legal action is unlikely to hinder the plans for redevelopment at the Stratford arena.