Spurs start legal proceedings

Spurs start legal proceedings
By Reuters

14/04/2011 at 00:31Updated 14/04/2011 at 02:22

Tottenham have started legal proceedings in challenging the decision to hand the Olympic Stadium to West Ham after London 2012, questioning Newham Council’s £40m loan.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company in February approved West Ham's bid for the 80,000-seater stadium, which took three years to build and was completed ahead of schedule in March.

Newham Council has agreed to provide a loan of up to £40 million to the stadium company that will be set up to run the venue and from whom West Ham will rent the ground.

However, Tottenham are contesting the use of public funds to help remodel the stadium after the Games.

"The club has today sought permission from the High Court to bring a claim against the London Borough of Newham ("Newham") for judicial review of Newham's process in providing a loan for the conversion of the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games," Spurs said on their website.

"The club wrote to Newham asking it to explain its reasons and justification for its decision, but Newham has declined to respond to this request for information.

"Due to the time limits which apply to claims for judicial review, the club has had no alternative but to issue these proceedings in order to protect its position," it added.

The OPLC backed West Ham's plans ahead of Tottenham who wanted to demolish a large part of the £500 million stadium and rebuild it without a running track.

West Ham's bid, which plans to cut the capacity to 60,000 whilst retaining the track around the pitch, was endorsed by the International Olympic Committee which felt it honoured a commitment made when London was awarded the Games in 2005.

Tottenham's lawyers last month wrote to the OPLC, the Mayor of London, the Minister of Sport and the Secretary of State for Local Government as well as Newham Council raising a number of concerns with the processes which led to the stadium award.

The OPLC defended its decision to award the stadium to Tottenham's Premier League rivals West Ham, saying: "We can confirm that a letter before action in relation to potential judicial review proceedings has been issued."

"We are confident that if these judicial review proceedings are pursued, our approach will be entirely vindicated by the courts. The OPLC ran a very rigorous and transparent process in its selection of the recommended preferred bidder."

Tottenham, who need a bigger capacity than their present 36,000 to compete with the top clubs in England and Europe, have been given approval from London mayor Boris Johnson to build a new stadium near their current White Hart Lane ground.

However, Spurs are concerned about the rising costs of such a development, including a 56,000-seater stadium, which could top £400m and have been seeking alternatives including the failed bid to use the Olympic stadium.

Tottenham's statement added: "The club continues to hold discussions with both local and national government bodies in order to seek to agree a feasible stadium solution."