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Volume 10 No. 26


EPL West Ham’s tenancy of Olympic Stadium "will finally be confirmed" at a press conference at the venue on Friday by the London Mayor Boris Johnson, according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. The London Legacy Development Corp. is "set to hand the keys of the London 2012 cenrepiece" to West Ham more than two years after they were first named preferred bidders for what is a 99-year lease. Lawyers spent weeks poring over West Ham's deal with the LLDC "to ensure it was as watertight as possible." The club should be able to move into the venue "in time for the 2016-17 season." A deal "could also boost the hopes" of 2015 Rugby World Cup organizers staging matches at the Olympic Stadium while it undergoes at £150M ($227M) facelift (TELEGRAPH, 3/21).

League One Leyton Orient Owner Barry Hearn has said that "he will look to move the club into Essex if he fails in his legal bid" to force EPL West Ham to share the Olympic Stadium, for fear that the club would be "crushed" by its new neighbors, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. In the latest twist to the tortuous process of finalizing the future of the Olympic Stadium, Hearn said that "he was confident of winning a judicial review of the decision to make West Ham the main tenant but admitted his legal fight was likely to be ultimately futile." Hearn admitted that the likelihood was the London Legacy Development Corp. "would find a way to finalise a deal with West Ham." He said  he suspected that West Ham "had made sole tenancy a condition" of its bid, despite the original conditions saying that "all parties must consider the possibility of 'teaming,'" because it wanted to make the stadium its own and attract foreign investment. Hearn said, "Eventually I will get beaten. They may go through the motions. I think I will win the judicial review but then, when we sit down, all they do is change the goalposts to get round it on a technicality." He said that there "was no point staying at Brisbane Road if West Ham were allowed to move into the 60,000-capacity stadium" in '16-17. If West Ham moves into the Olympic Stadium he said that "he would sell Brisbane Road and consider new sites for the club." Hearn: "I don't know where. Harlow has been mooted, Romford has been mooted, off the A13 down by the docks, Barking way" (GUARDIAN, 3/21).

Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen "has agreed to wishes of its fans and will add 1,000 additional standing-room seats for the '13-14 season," according to DER WESTEN. Club Managing Dir Wolfgang Holzhäuser said, "We have been told again and again by fan representatives that there is additional demand for standing-room seats." Leverkusen's BayArena will have 3,000 standing-room seats for the next season, up from 2,000 this year. Holzhäuser added that the additional standing room "will increase the atmosphere in the stadium and the support for the team." He said, "We have statically examined the conpect and received the green light form the authorities." The price for a standing-room season ticket "will be 'sightly' increased for next season" from €160 ($207) to €170 ($219) (DER WESTEN, 3/21).

Rio de Janeiro is "turning to a surprising partner" for help to complete Mané Garrincha stadium in the run-up to June's Confederations Cup: the United Nations, according to REUTERS. The Brazilian government this week signed a R$35M ($17.61M) agreement with two U.N. agencies "under which they will procure services and items such as tents, generators and security cameras for the stadium." The contract is "one of the clearest signs yet that Brazil is running behind on the construction of stadiums and other key infrastructure for upcoming sporting events." The U.N.'s main advantage is that it "can acquire goods and services without going through the complex and lengthy procurement process required by the Brazilian government." Some of the temporary structures to be procured by the U.N. agencies for the Confederations Cup will "remain in place for the seven World Cup games that will be played in Brasilia a year later." UNDP spokesperson Boaz Paldi said the arrangement with Brazil was "not entirely unprecedented" and the value of the contract could rise (REUTERS, 3/21).

Int'l law firm Clifford Chance "is to advise Qatar in the run-up to its hosting" of the 2022 World Cup, including "on the development of the tournament’s main stadium," according to Daniel Shane of ARABIAN BUSINESS. Clifford Chance said in a statement that "it had been mandated by the organiser’s Supreme Committee to assist with its technical programme, which includes advising on procurement and development of infrastructure." The firm has "previously conducted similar work for tournaments" including the London Olympics and Euro 2012. To host the event, Qatar "is planning or renovating 12 dedicated stadia, including the 86,000-seater Lusail Iconic Stadium, which will host the final." Qatar’s spending on the 2022 World Cup will increase to $115B between now and '22 (ARABIAN BUSINESS, 3/18).