Spurs warned off seeking stadium review

 

Hugh Robertson, the sports minister, has cautioned Tottenham Hotspur against seeking a judicial review over the future of the Olympic Stadium.

Yesterday, the Olympic Park Legacy Company recommended West Ham United as the preferred bidder to take over the stadium after next year's Games ahead of Tottenham.

After a four-hour meeting the 14-strong OPLC board, chaired by Baroness Ford, unanimously chose West Ham's bid, although the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the Government still have to ratify the final decision, a process which began yesterday and is expected to take up to a couple of weeks. It is highly unlikely they will fail to follow the OPLC's recommendation.

Tottenham said yesterday that they were "reviewing their position" and Daniel Levy, the chairman, has previously raised the prospect of taking legal action. "I sincerely hope not," said Robertson, speaking minutes after the decision was announced in Westminster. "When you have been through a process like this, which has been pretty robust and pretty competitive, people say things in the heat of battle. I hope when everybody has calmed down and had a think about this that that will not be necessary. It is a big step for any football club to take a government to judicial review."

Robertson and Baroness Ford stressed yesterday that both bids were given equal consideration and denied there had been any outside interference in the decision – Tottenham's plan to knock down the stadium, built with £537m of public money, was widely suggested to be politically unpalatable. Levy has suggested in recent weeks that it was not a straightforward choice between which bid best met the five criteria laid down by the OPLC.

Robertson said: "If [Levy] thinks there has been political interference he will have to bring forward evidence to support that. I can't see any political interference at all. The Government has been absolutely at arms-length in this process."

Ford said: "This has not been a fait accompli. This was a robust process. We made it very clear to Tottenham at the start that we would take their proposition seriously." The OPLC will not disclose the full detail of the board's findings until after the Government and mayor have reached their decision.

Robertson also revealed that there will be guarantees in place to prevent West Ham tearing up the running track in years to come. He said: "That would be a clear danger so guarantees of that sort have been sought. The provision of the running track is an integral part of the West Ham-Newham, UK Athletics-backed proposal and OPLC will be seeking guarantees that that will be delivered."

The vice-chairman of West Ham, Karren Brady, said that the club had not ruled out a design for their new home with seats covering the running track – which would address the main fear of supporters that they will be too far from the action. The club are looking at a number of different options as part of their £95m makeover that could involve "retractable" seating.

Brady said the club were considering "a number of different innovations". She said: "It is possible to put retractable seats on the running track. Our designers' job is to maximise the experience for all the supporters. It is not as much money as you think. It would be in the region of 10 per cent of the overall costs [£9.5m]."

If West Ham complete the process, they will be given a lease of 150 years and the stadium will be half-owned by the club and Newham council via an independent company. They are looking into offering season tickets for all events at the stadium, including football, cricket, athletics and concerts.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue