EPL Sides West Ham United, Leyton Orient Could Be Forced To Share Olympic Stadium
EPL West Ham "may yet be forced to share the Olympic Stadium with Leyton Orient" after Leyton Chair Barry Hearn "was given permission to use the venue by legacy chiefs," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. The London Legacy Development Corp. confirmed it "had no objection to Orient chairman Hearn negotiating a rental agreement with whichever firm ends up operating the London 2012 centrepiece, something that could lead to the club playing all of their home games there." The revelation "followed a meeting" between the LLDC and Hearn, "set up in the wake of the House of Lords report last month into the Olympic legacy," which recommended that Orient be allowed "occasional use" of the stadium. The right to "manage the stadium during those periods will be put out to tender next year, with Live Nation and AEG likely to be among the bidders." They will not be able to offer Orient a "long-term lease such as the 99-year agreement enjoyed by West Ham but look poised to have the power to grant permission for them to play an entire season at the venue, perhaps several" (TELEGRAPH, 12/18). The PA's Martyn Ziegler reported Hearn said that the LLDC "had confirmed the Premier League club could not block other companies or clubs agreeing deals to use the Olympic Stadium when it was not being used by the Hammers." Hearn said, "West Ham have no say about it, that was the most important thing that came out of the meeting. I was not sure if West Ham were guaranteed to be the only football club using the stadium and the breakthrough news for me was that the answer is no, they are just a tenant" (PA, 12/19).