EPL West Ham United is "likely to be named preferred bidders for the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on Wednesday following a board meeting of the London Legacy Development Corp., but final agreement on a deal for the East End club to move into the £429M ($691M) venue is expected to remain some way off," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. West Ham believes that only Premier League football "can make the stadium economically viable and deliver a lasting legacy for the surrounding area." London Mayor Boris Johnson feels that West Ham offers "the best solution but is equally adamant that the deal must make sense for the public purse." West Ham's "best and final" offer was believed to be around £15M ($24.1M) toward the upfront costs of installing a full roof and retractable seats, plus £2.5M ($4M) a year in rent and a claimed £6M ($9.7M) a year uplift in stadium naming rights and catering revenues. The 19-strong board "will attempt to come to a decision." One likely outcome is that West Ham "will get preferred bidder status, but with a number of conditions attached before contracts can be signed" (GUARDIAN, 12/4). In London, Ashling O'Connor writes "while several of the 18 board members have reservations about West Ham’s plan, it is thought a majority will agree with the mayor" that football secures the best long-term commercial future for the stadium. The success of West Ham’s bid depends on building the retractable seating on budget. The design "has been costed, the bill could still rise." A legal challenge from Leyton Orient, the npower League One club who want to share the stadium, could also delay approval (LONDON TIMES, 12/5).
ACTOR PENS COLUMN: In London, writing exclusively for the DAILY MAIL Hollywood actor Ray Winstone "has pleaded for 'common sense to prevail' as the Hammers wait to find out who will be named as the preferred bidder by the LLDC." The "fun and games of the Olympics are over now, and we have a golden opportunity to really change the perception of the area and put the pride back in east London." Like most other East Enders, "I'm a lifelong supporter of West Ham United, and I feel so passionately about my club and the area I grew up in that wanted to share my thoughts on how I think the Olympic Stadium can be used to help make that change." For me and for thousands of other East Londoners, "the one consistent focal point of the area is our football team." I think the club has something like half a million supporters in East London and Essex. So, I think "the fitting legacy for this area and the rest of the country would be to allow West Ham United to help fulfil the dreams of the people of East London and become tenants of the Olympic Stadium." Yes, it "would bring a great future for the club, but more importantly it would rejuvenate the area as well" (DAILY MAIL, 12/4).
Close to 15,000 fans of Brasileiro club Corinthians were at São Paulo's Guarulhos Int'l Airport to cheer the squad as it left for the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, according to GLOBO ESPORTE. However, the party ended in "confusion with the military police" and airport security. According to airport employees, "windows were broken and alarms set off and, the grass area was totally destroyed." Fire hydrants and airport signs were also damaged. An airport security guard said, "The guys were climbing on cars, jumping, breaking everything, it was horrible" (GLOBO ESPORTE, 12/4). REUTERS' Brian Homewood noted that photographs showed "thousands of Corinthians fans inside the departure hall where they chanted, waved banners and set off fire extinguishers" (REUTERS, 12/4).
The Scottish Premier League has gone from a profit of £2M ($3.2M) to a loss of £11.9M ($19.2M) and Rangers’ drop into the Third Division is "set to make matters worse," according to Hugh Keevins of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. The latest annual financial review of the SPL, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, says the loss of Rangers and its fan base "will create further financial damage." David Glen, who put the report together, said: “At first glance it appears the SPL only made a loss of £2.5M ($4M) during the last year examined, which is 2010-11. But after delving deeper, and stripping out a one-off event like Hearts’ debt forgiveness of £7.8M ($12.6M), the true underlying loss of £11.9M is exposed. The league was in the black in 2009-10 with an overall profit of £2M but now the game is under more intense financial pressure than ever before." Glen’s solution is for clubs to "invest in homegrown players who can then be sold on for big profits" (DAILY RECORD, 12/4).
NO RUSH: In Glasgow, Gavin Berry reported Scottish FA President Campbell Ogilvie "insists plans for a Scottish football revolution should not be rushed through." Shortly after Ogilvie appealed for the game’s "major players to take their time to ensure the right decisions are made," it emerged the president could have a new 12-12-18 structure in place for next season. Ogilvie is determined to "get heads knocked together,” so the SPL and Scottish Football League can agree on a vision for the future. He will be given a "clearer indication if they are about to agree on historic change when they meet on Thursday to discuss the plans, that are in contrast to the SFL’s 16-10-16 proposal" (DAILY RECORD, 12/4).
SEEKING RE-ELECTION: The SCOTSMAN reported Ogilvie has "declared his intention to stand for re-election for the SFA presidency." Ogilvie had "faced calls to resign earlier in the year because of a previous role as a director at Rangers, which have been mired in allegations of wrongdoing in relation to Employment Benefit Trusts." Ogilvie admitted that the saga had "put a cloud" over his tenure for the last six months, but said that he wants to "continue in the role in order to play a part in the proposed league restructuring of the Scottish game" (SCOTSMAN, 12/4).