Fears over legal dispute prompt Olympic Legacy Company to pull the plug and rent out the OS

West Ham to lose Olympic Stadium contract, but will bid again in new tender

The future of the 2012 Olympic Stadium has been thrown into confusion after the deal for West Ham to move in after the Games collapsed amid fears that legal challenges could undermine the agreement and leave the stadium lying empty for years.  West Ham is said to have welcomed the move and said it would bid to be the stadium tenants. Any interested bidders will have to submit proposals by January next year.

Where is the OS bound for? I think West Ham will move to the OS anyway!

According to the BBC the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) pulled the plug on the deal because of the ongoing threat of legal action from opponents, including rival football clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient.

Stadium will remain in public ownership – new tender begins

The OPLC and Mayor of London have now decided that the stadium in east London should remain in public ownership, and the hunt for a tenant to lease the arena will begin soon. Bidders will have to submit proposals by January.

Under the new arrangement as much as £50m in public money will have to be found to convert the 80,000-capacity stadium into a 60,000-seater venue after the Games are over. However, the move will safeguard the future of the running track and could strengthen Britain’s bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

West Ham going to submit new bid

And West Ham could still end up playing at the stadium if they and Newham Council bid to become the tenants. Indeed, it may even be cheaper for the Hammers to rent the venue from the OPLC. The BBC reports that they will have to pay around £2m a year to lease the stadium, although the overall running costs will be more than £5m a year. Newham Council and West Ham have issued a statement on the matter on West Ham’s official website.

Uncertainty because of Spurs’ legal challenge

The radical decision by the OPLC was made because of uncertainty caused by the prospect of legal action over the decision to hand the stadium to West Ham. There were objections from Spurs and Orient, plus an anonymous complaint to the European Commission. The new tenants were due to move into the arena in 2014, but an ongoing courtroom battle could have prevented that deadline from being met. Spurs and Orient claimed that a £40m loan from Newham Council to the Hammers amounted to state aid. Now Newham Council, despite backing West Ham all the way previously, have said they were ready to withdraw from the bidding process. This move seems to have made the OPL pull out of the intended 125-year-lease-contract that West Ham would have been given.

There had been attempts to prevent a long running legal dispute, with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson even offering Spurs funding to help redevelop their White Hart Lane ground in the hope they would end their interest in the Olympic Stadium.

But with another court hearing scheduled for Tuesday next week and concerns over London’s 2017 athletics bid the OPLC decided to take the drastic step, just 10 months before the Olympics will begin.

Article from: The First Post (with supplements by RapidHammer)

2 Comments:

  1. rapidhammer said...

    Comment from Iain Dale, West Ham Till I Die:
    “It’s never easy being a Hammer is it? This morning we woke up to the news that the Olympic Park Legacy Company have pulled the plug on West Ham’s bid for the Olympic Stadium and that we won’t be allowed to take over the stadium with Newham Council. The uncertainty over the continuation of legal action by Spurs and Orient is said to be the main reason. As a consequence the taxpayer will be landed with a bill for £50 million of conversion costs.
    It is said that we may still be allowed to rent the stadium for £2 million a year, which might be superficially attractive but hardly gives the club the stability of ‘home ownership’.
    Details are still sketchy but I cannot think this will be the end of it. The West Ham board may well consider taking the OPLC to judicial review. I cannot conceive they will take this lying down.”

    Posted October 11, 2011 at 7:02 PM | Permalink
  2. rapidhammer said...

    To date, West Ham fans have never been consulted over the move by the club’s owners. Since this morning’s decision was announced, a ‘No To Stratford’ campaign has begun on Twitter whilst the tag #savetheboleyn is also trending on the popular social network.

    Posted October 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

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