West Ham Olympic Stadium decision upheld

The procedure which made West Ham the first choice to move into the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games was not compromised, an independent investigation has ruled.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company called for the inquiry after its corporate services director Dionne Knight was exposed as also having allegedly worked as consultant for West Ham during the bid.



The east London club beat north London rivals Tottenham for the keys to the £486million stadium.



A six-week investigation by auditors Moore Stephens found that Knight did not have access to confidential information, and did not pass on any such information on to West Ham or anyone else.



The OPLC's board, which met today, upheld its decision to name West Ham's joint bid with Newham Council as the preferred bid. It ruled there are "no grounds for reconsidering" its recommendation.



Knight was suspended on full pay while any possible conflict of interest was investigated.



She had declared a personal relationship with Ian Tompkins, a West Ham director, when she started at the OPLC. She told the legacy company of her work at the club only after a Sunday newspaper claimed she was on West Ham's payroll.



Tottenham have been looking at a legal challenge over the stadium decision. Moore Stephens did not consider the bidding process, which is a matter for a judicial review if one is granted this week.



An oral hearing to renew applications for a judicial review is set for August 24.



A statement said: "After considering the report, the Olympic Park Legacy Company Board has concluded there are no grounds for reconsidering their recommendation to select the consortium of West Ham United FC and the London Borough of Newham as the preferred bidder for the legacy use of the Olympic Stadium.



"The legacy company's founder members, the Mayor of London and Government, have also concluded that there are no grounds for reconsidering their decision to select West Ham United FC and the London Borough of Newham as preferred bidder."



West Ham plan to retain the running track after moving into the stadium.



They intend to convert the 80,000-seater venue into a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use.



The club plan to move from their Upton Park home in 2014-15.



Newham Council has arranged £40million to convert the stadium after 2012.

PA

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