A major row is brewing over West Ham’s likely refusal to share the Olympic Stadium with Tottenham Hotspur for a season should the north London club make a formal request to do so while their own new stadium is being built. The London Legacy Development Corporation, with whom the Hammers negotiated a highly favourable 99-year lease from the 2016-17 season, are privately annoyed at the stance taken by the club’s freshly ermined vice-chair, Karren Brady (now Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge), that any such move would be firmly opposed.
Like London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, the Legacy Board are keen to see the largely taxpayer-funded stadium pay its way, and would welcome the income a season of Spurs home matches would attract. One leading figure involved in the original negotiations tells us: “A ground-sharing arrangement for a season seems eminently workable, and profitable. Someone should be reminding West Ham that they need to be flexible on this.”
It was understood West Ham would be able to veto a potential move, even if Tottenham, or any other club, agreed a deal with the Legacy Corporation. But in fact West Ham only have this power of veto for the first season in which they move from Upton Park.
Chris gets cross
We hear that both Chris Eubanks – dad and lad – “went ballistic” when they read that promoter Frank Warren had called off a proposed fight between Chris Jnr and British and European middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. Warren claimed he found Chris Snr “a nightmare to deal with” and ended negotiations.
Angered by suggestions that they had “bottled it”, Eubank Snr insisted on talks being resumed. The result is that a deal has now been signed. The scrap between the unbeaten pair, to be announced this week, will be on the Dereck Chisora-Tyson Fury bill at London’s ExCel on 29 November.
Olympics on ice
Why is it the 2022 Winter Olympics are being given the cold shoulder? Oslo’s decision to pull the plug on its bid leaves only Beijing, which isn’t within 120 miles of a ski-able mountain, and Almaty in Kazakhstan, a country where corruption is endemic, as contenders after the Swedish capital, Stockholm, Krakow in Poland and Lviv in Ukraine also pulled out. Oslo’s withdrawal heightens concerns that the Olympics are becoming far too expensive.
Tanni speaks up
Like golf’s Royal & Ancient, the 63-year-old Boxing Writers’ Club thankfully is no longer a male-only bastion. It threw open the doors of London’s Savoy, admitting women to its annual awards dinner, in 2012, in time to honour debutant Olympic champion Nicola Adams. Next Monday, this year’s bash sees another equally courageous woman, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, as the principal speaker.