London Mayor Johnson Being Accused Of Favoring West Ham For Olympic Stadium
English soccer club Leyton Orient Chair Barry Hearn "has demanded" that London Mayor Boris Johnson "be removed from any discussions over the future of the Olympic Stadium after the London Mayor said that West Ham would 'almost certainly' end up occupying the arena," according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. Hearn has "written to the Government asking for Johnson to be stripped of any decision-making power because he fears his views will prejudice Orient’s chances in the new tender process." Hearn is "keen to submit a bid on behalf of Orient for a reduced capacity of around 25,000, and believes his chances of success have been prejudiced by Johnson’s comments." Hearn said, "The ineptitude of our mayor of London in this is unbelievable, the fact that he can say something like that and put the whole process in jeopardy. Why should anyone now bid if the mayor of London who makes the final decision, says West Ham are a near certainty? What’s the point in spending tens of thousands of pounds on evaluations and reports when the mayor has made his mind up?" Meanwhile, EPL club Tottenham has until Wednesday night to "accept an offer from Johnson of a [US$26.9M] contribution to the planning costs of upgrading the area around their proposed new stadium development at Northumberland Park in Haringey." The money "would be used to improve infrastructure and facilities around the stadium, requirements that could be placed" on Tottenham as a developer in the area (London TELEGRAPH, 10/18).
NO CAPACITY: In London, Martin Samuel writes, "Don't do us any favours, Barry. We'd hate to inconvenience a football club that currently averages 3,710 fans per league game with something as trifling as an Olympic legacy." Samuel asks, "What do Leyton Orient want with a 25,000 capacity stadium anyway? They cannot fill the 9,271 space at Brisbane Road." Samuel: "Maybe Hearn thinks he can pad out the arena with discount offers and reduced ticket prices, except it is precisely that type of pledge that has made him such an opponent of the West Ham bid" (London DAILY MAIL, 10/19).