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Ten months to go, back to the drawing board

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David Bond | 12:39 UK time, Tuesday, 11 October 2011

When I first heard last night there was a chance the Olympic Stadium deal with West Ham could be terminated, I couldn't quite believe what I was being told.

Ten months before the Games and eight months after the decision to choose West Ham and Newham ahead of Tottenham, were ministers, the Mayor of London and Olympic organisers really preparing to go back to the drawing board?

The Olympic Park Legacy Company has maintained throughout this tortuous saga that the original process was not flawed and, despite concerns over the financing and Tottenham's opposition, West Ham's proposal offered the best legacy for the centrepiece of the Olympic Park.

So it is extraordinary that the OPLC board met yesterday and voted to simply rip up the agreement and retain the stadium in public ownership.

West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan and vice chairman Karren Brady celebrate their winning bid in February

West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan and vice chairman Karren Brady pose outside the Olympic Stadium. Photo: PA

As I revealed this morning, the OPLC will now bear the costs of converting the stadium from its 80,000-seat capacity during the Games, to a 60,000-seat venue, capable of hosting major athletics events and Premier League football.

They will then tender for an anchor tenant, or tenants, interested in renting the stadium.

Largely it is a slimmed down version of the West Ham/Newham plan, but removing the financial risk to the bidders and crucially the need for a £40 million loan from Newham Council which Spurs and Leyton Orient say is effectively state aid.

It is that loan which has proved the undoing of the process - especially when the European Commission received an anonymous complaint last week, opening up a whole new front in the legal dispute.

Following that, I am told, lawyers for the OPLC, London Mayor Boris Johnson and the Sports Minister Hugh Robertson advised that it could be months and months before the case was resolved threatening a delay to the reopening of the stadium after the Games, earmarked for 2014.

Robertson says they had to take decisive action to bring an end to the legal paralysis and to remove the uncertainty created by Tottenham's legal challenge.

And ultimately the most likely outcome remains that West Ham will still move in after the Games.

Despite that, the move raises a number of significant questions.

The most important is where will the money come from to convert the stadium? And if it is West Ham which ends up as the anchor tenant, will they be able to come up with enough money to help cover the annual running costs which are estimated to be over £5 million? Will this end up being a drain on taxpayers who are already committed to footing the majority of the £9.3 billion bill for the Games?

Thirty-six million pounds is already sitting in the ODA budget for converting the £516 million stadium, and I am told there is another £15 million available in the OPLC budget if needed.

Sources say the rest of the money will come from concerts and other sporting events but this doesn't sound very well developed at this stage.

Many people, particularly those who feared that the ambition of creating an athletics legacy would ultimately be undermined by sharing with a big football club, were happy with the outcome this morning. With London bidding for the 2017 World Athletics Championships, the Government, the Mayor and the athletics community are desperate for clarity on the track issue ahead of next month's IAAF vote.

But with the OPLC now reopening the process who's to say Tottenham or Leyton Orient or other parties won't come forward with a better offer than West Ham and Newham? Will the OPLC be duty bound to accept the highest offer - leaving West Ham and all those grand community legacy visions high and dry?

Or have ministers and the mayor now finally done away with the whole pretence of trying to acommodate two incompatible sports and accepted that for London to keep its Olympic promise the public are going to have to just foot the bill. And if West Ham or any other football club don't fancy playing there, well tough.

If that is the case then many will applaud the boldness of the move.

But equal numbers will ask why this wasn't done in the first place. And the pressure will now grow on the OPLC and its senior leaders to explain how the process was allowed to become such a terrible mess.

London won the 2012 Games by promising to deliver the first proper thought-out legacy from the Olympics:

* Legacy through the regeneration of a desperately deprived part of east London.

* Legacy from the venues which wouldn't be allowed to gather dust as costly white elephants.

* And legacy from the sporting culture and health of the nation which, we were told, would be transformed by the inspiring experience of hosting the 30th Olympiad.

The first is beyond doubt. But the other two are today looking very shaky indeed.


  • Comment number 1.

    David Bond

    But equal numbers will ask why this wasn't done in the first place. And the pressure will now grow on the OPLC and its senior leaders to explain how the process was allowed to become such a terrible mess.
    Why don't you ask the question then? You're a journalist aren't you, seemingly with plenty of time on your hands.

    I'm not sure if it is a mess or not, or whether it is simply a case of a story being drip fed when it is not finished.

  • Comment number 2.

    Keep digging, please, thanks.

    Interesting Robertson did not dare make his Statement in Parliament.

    Assuming it was to be an oral statement, I sent the following to my MP, Priti Patel.

    Maybe you and other readers can pursue some of this stuff, especially to get OPLC to consider the prevailing 'legacy' before the Olympics was ever considered a possibility.

    **"I hope that you can be present and get a question asked about whether in the renewed tendering process, the OLPC will be expected to ensure that the existing legacy of Leyton Orient's Community, sporting and Commercial history, in Leyton and Hackney over more than 130 years will be preserved whoever the tenant is.

    The Olpc did not consider this when they dealt with tenders first time round as we have communicated about and neither do their objectives require them to consider existing tenancies but in a new tendering process, they can be now.

    Best regards and thanks if you can help.

    If you don't get to ask a question, please write to Hugh Robertson and Eric Pickles and Boris Johnson."***

    ==="From the Olympic Park Legacy website (TODAY)

    What we aim to achieve

    Our Vision

    The Olympic Park will be at the centre of London’s growth this century, and a vibrant focal point for events, sport and leisure. Its connections, sporting facilities, parkland, waterways and family housing will form a unique mix – building on the best of London’s traditions to create a ‘21st Century garden city’ and linking into surrounding neighbourhoods to promote convergence, regeneration and prosperity in east London.

    Our Objectives

    Our strategic objectives, as set by our Founders:

    * Assisting the Government and the Mayor of London in fulfilling some
    of the legacy promises made in the bid to host the London 2012
    Olympic and Paralympic Games
    * Securing the timely development of the Olympic Park site as a high
    quality and sustainable mixed community
    * Promoting social, economic and environmental benefits for local
    * Securing the long term development and management of the Olympic
    Park site and venues in ways which provide lasting national and
    local sporting, cultural, education and leisure benefits and which
    preserve the site’s Olympic heritage
    * Working with partners to contribute to long-term economic growth and
    prosperity in the wider area
    * Levering in private investment to maximise and provide best value
    for the public purse
    * Promoting sustainable development, community involvement and
    equality of opportunity

    Our Goals

    We have developed six goals towards realising our vision:

    * To create a new great park for London building on the capital’s
    tradition of parks such as St James’ and Hyde Park and its
    neighbourhood garden squares. The highly active park and premier
    centre for the enjoyment of sports, culture and recreation will
    offer a full variety of international, regional, community
    programmes and cultural events that celebrate the Olympic legacy
    * Build a diverse community with significant levels of homes for
    families that offers an incomparable lifestyle by the blending best
    of London’s housing traditions with unique access to nature and
    sporting facilities
    * Be a catalyst for regeneration of east London by ensuring the site
    is physically, economically and socially interconnected, with the
    surrounding communities and that local communities are fully engaged
    * To create a place for sports and leisure facilities for elite and
    amateur athletes, as well as for local schools and people which
    capitalizes on the Park’s Olympic heritage and enhances the Park’s
    social and economic opportunities for people from the neighbourhoods
    which connect to the Park
    * To create unique employment and business opportunities including a
    campus type environment attracting a range of industries including
    research, innovation, media and new enterprises including social
    enterprise which will all contribute to London’s competitive
    advantage and supporting the regeneration of east London and
    opportunities for inclusion
    * To create a model of sustainable estate management and land
    stewardship which provides excellent standards of ongoing management
    and maintenance over the long term while at the same time providing
    a good return to the public purse on the significant public
    investment made

    How we will reach our goals

    We will seek to achieve our goals by:

    * Working in partnership with Central Government, the Mayor of London
    and the Greater London Authority, the five Olympic Host Boroughs,
    residents in neighbouring local communities, local organisations,
    businesses and regeneration agencies and other partners in both the
    public and private sector, including national and international
    sporting, cultural and leisure organisations
    * Leveraging our public assets to attract and secure private
    investment for the development of the Park
    * Setting and maintaining standards for quality of design,
    construction and urban planning, to ensure a sustainable and
    enduring legacy for the Park"===

  • Comment number 3.

    This is a mess. They should have done the whole tender process for this while the original bid was being collated so that when the Games were awarded the status of the venue would already have been decided.

    As for an anonymous complaint to the EU it is just another reason we should extract ourselves from that political body as soon as possible.

    But also who made the complaint - Spurs, Leyton Orient, Newham's treasurer whenhe realised they don't have £40M or a councillor in the area that opposed it. No-one knows but they shoudl have to come forward and explain why they have thrown a spanner in the works of the project.

    The irony is most Spurs fans don't want the Olympic stadium anyway

  • Comment number 4.

    With a buget of £9+billion, you have thought that we'd have had someone with a modicum of intelligence in charge of the building projects, someone who could look to 2020, or even 2040 instead of just the Olympic games themselves.
    I guess that's where I'm living in a dream world, no-one in charge of any major building works in Britain ever seems to look past the date that the project has finished being built and I expect exactly the same (stupidly shortsighted) policy when the government finally gets round to building new power stations.

  • Comment number 5.

    Any fule kno that the only way to sustain a stadium like this is through football. I love athletics but the commercial reality is that there are not enough athletics supporters to pay to build and run a stadium like this (look at Don Valley Stadium or the state of Crystal Palace for clues). If the government wanted to support athletics to the tune of £550 million plus running costs, maybe they should have asked us (ie taxpayers). In fact it's not too late - I'm sure we can think of better uses for that money right now.

    Of course West Ham are delighted by this outcome as they get the stadium without having to pay so much - I may like the way the 'ammers play, but not that much! And I think Barry Hearn is naive if he thinks this isn't going to result in West Ham playing there. So why doesn't he propose ground sharing?

    As to Spurs, I think they have been right to pursue this but I doubt they will get anywhere now - there's no way they will be the tenants as they are being blamed for the delays and putting 'the legacy' at risk. Maybe their legal challenge hasn't finished yet?

    In truth the design of the stadium was poorly conceived in the first place - perhaps because no-one thought London would win the bid no-one really bothered to scrutinise it that much. Either that or everyone involved in the decisions on the stadium and the bid were useless.

  • Comment number 6.

    #4 ReallyReal

    And let us not forget the original figure was somewhat less than £9bn as well. Then someone remembered that you must include VAT. Then someone etc etc etc

    No doubt these 'someone' people are still in jobs, and just as likely earning government contracts.

  • Comment number 7.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    This all boils down to the lack of foresight and the arrorgance of those athletics bods who were in charge at the start of the whole process. I am not sure if Lord Coe was a decision maker or just a figurehead but he has had plenty to say.

    WHat is most annoying is that anyone and everyone knows that Athletics can barely afford a pot to pee in let alone a £5m pa stadium costing £500m...yet athletics seem to be the ones calling all the shots. Not happy with London hosting a great event in 2012 it is insisted that the stadium remains in use as an athletics stadium for ever more, to hell with the costs, someone else will pay....where has this ever succeeded? How many times has the Birds Nest been used since 2008. Athens, what a financial mess and a white elephant they can ill afford.

    Athletics is writing cheques that they expect that tax payer to honour. They want an iconic venue to use, a few times a year and maybe fill once a year at best.

    Having made all these grand legacy promises, they now cannot fulfill them. It looks bad to go back on what was promised so the tax payer will have to cover the costs of the poor decisions made at the outset.

    Meanwhile the new process pretty much precludes Orient & THFC so West Ham are the nailed on tenants. The way that this process has changed over night makes you wonder whether the OPLC/West Ham saw the inevitable outcome from the Judicial Review and hatched a scheme that saw both parties win.

    As a public body, whatever rent is paid must be the market rent. Much like Newhams loan, West Ham United cannot get preferential terms on the stadium.

    This whole mess could have been sorted out like the Manchester City stadium (the City Council now received about £2m pa as rent) but the arrorgance of athletics at the outset denied that opportunity and the tax payer and London Council tax payers like me will end up pay for years to come!

  • Comment number 10.

    I honestly don't think BBC Sport are the best department to report on this story. Sadly the proper investigative arms of the BBC simply aren't very interested in Sport so you get a half-hearted, un-briefed interview on the Today Programme this morning, an entertaining interview with Barry Hearn on the World at One and a series of how did we get here, time-line type things on the BBC Sport website.

    Sadly the BBC Sports department has the Olympic Games as it's major sporting event, it has relationships with all the key players in the Olympic and Athletics movements, many of its star presenters/journalists came out early and publicly in favour of one party in the process. Asking BBC Sport to investigate how this happened (rather than simply reporting what has happened) is akin to expecting a Secretary of State to be able to thoroughly investigate himself in the face alleged impropriety.

    Even now the decision makers are given a free run of the air-ways by the BBC without being grilled on the farce and with their version of events being taken as gospel.

    Can you imagine how BBC Politics or News and Current Affairs would have tackled this scandal... what Panaroma or NewsNight would have had to say to the succession of politicians...

  • Comment number 11.

    It's been said a lot in the past, but why oh why didn't they build a stadium with retractable seating as per Stade de France!?!? Would have solved so many problems! Stade de France holds football and rugby with the front tier in place.... a couple of days later athletics. A stadium that has held the football and rugby world cup finals and the world athletics championships.

    It wasn't rocket science that their model was the way to go! The would have had football clubs (or even some bigger rugby clubs) lining up to take the stadium on!

  • Comment number 12.

    Lets mix local govt with football chairmen and see what happens?? Suprise, suprise chaos!
    I'm sure some well paid PR/cosultancy firm will be laughing all the way to the bank.

    However, did the vote for WHU not get a 16-0 majority? and yet still the decision was challenged - crazy.
    Still will be good to see the Orient playing there, - should get a full house every other week!
    No doubt there will be more twists and bacckhanders before this is setled

  • Comment number 13.

    Another day another mess. DO WE EVER LEARN OF PAST MISTAKES.
    Stop the legal wrangling, this only waste money and money that could be used efficently goes into lawyers hands.
    Two/three football clubs want a piece of the action.There should be a ground sharing agreement be it premiership or other football divisions.It has proved succesful elsewhere.
    Stadium's should be used throughout the year,one premiership club could use Wembley.This will quickly reduce the debt the FA have.
    This has been done in the past.Rugby Union use it occasionally
    Tottenham FC should stay where they are to regenerate the area,following the riots.
    The supporters do not want to move away.It will take one major football club to slip financially and than the cascading of events will start- remember Portsmouth FC.
    Please seek common sense and let us not have a white elephant in a wonderful city of London.
    London requires a multi purpose stadium to show the world of it's sporting achivements.What is going to happen to the Athletics Championship of 2017, is this going to deprive the grass roots of sports some motivation. Let us not be selfish.
    The government tells us we need to be a healthy nation why can't they provide a cheap loan to the succesful bidder provided a few conditions are met.
    The government has given bailout (peppercorn) loans in the past,why not now.
    Let us not waste unnecessary energy,money and time on legal wranglings.
    Boris as a wiff waff sports person and the Mayor of London ,as part of your re election mandate.
    Why can't you get the people around and say enough is enough let us get a result once and for all.

  • Comment number 14.

    The following appear to be true:

    1. OPLC, LOCOG etc didn't really think through clearly on legacy for the main stadium before designing it.
    2. West Ham would like to pay £2m a year rent for a 60,000 stadium, which sounds rather like state aid to me. Let's say they get 40,000 punters at £50/head. That's £30m from 19 EPL fixtures. Plus £50m odd from the telly. Plus the odd cup fixture,sales in the shops etc. £100m T/O business minimum. 2% rental costs. Not bad, eh? That's assuming Upton Park is a write off, no houses, no hotels, no nothing. What's the state aid position on all that, eh?
    3. Why wasn't a full roof considered as part of the design? Obvious if you want to hold events in winter, isn't it? You can roll the grass up nowadays, so you can use the stadium for other things when there's no game on. Ask the Millennium Stadium.
    4. Why can't the track be dismantled and re-installed, just as grass can be? Then you're not limited by an athletics track. But you can use it again in future.

    I guess maybe these things are all 'learning experiences'.

    But I thought you paid people a lot of money to think of these things ahead of time.

    Rather than spend shedloads on expensive experts designing to briefs, arguing to briefs which in the end turn out to be faulty.

    We are where we are.

    But Britain needs to learn from this. And Wembley.

    Worst case scenario is you build houses on the site.

    Perhaps THOSE could be designed properly, eh?

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    The answer to Bond's rhetorical question "Or have ministers and the mayor now finally done away with the whole pretence ...?" is obviously that a week in advance of legal proceedings that the whole sorry shower were doomed to lose, someone decided to blow the whistle. Plus semi-bankrupt West Ham get a stadium on the cheap, allowing the owners to cash in on the sale of the Boleyn, and Newham Council to give planning permission to Tesco's for another superstore

  • Comment number 17.

    They should have decided to hold the olympics in the Millennium Dome. That way way we would only end up with one, and not two, outrageously over-priced and underused relics of 'ambition' and 'legacy' rotting in our capital city.

  • Comment number 18.

    Why spend (unnecessarily in my view) money downsizing a 'new' stadium?

  • Comment number 19.

    I blame THFC for this mess. WHU have said right from the start that they wanted to use the stadium after 2012 for football. Most thought it was a good idea. Some months later THFC decided to put their tuppence-halfpenny in, and make a legal challenge, encouraging Orient to do the same. The chairmen of both these 2 clubs need no encouragement to cause unnecessary problems. Meantime, Crystal Palace FC have said they want to develop a new ground in Crystal Palace Park, which can only go ahead if THFC don't get the Olympic Stadium. So because of THFC's interference now at least 3 other clubs' futures are in doubt. How much power and control over London football do they want?!

  • Comment number 20.

    Totally agree with 19.
    Why don't Spurs accept the fact that they lost the bid? They are messing it up for everyone else.

  • Comment number 21.

    What have the BBC been doing during this debacle ? David Bond and his colleges have been buttering up to Lord Coe and his cronies and saying " Well done , you are doing a great job " When in reality the tickets were to expensive for the majority of people , the standard of our athletes is poor , the corporate facilities are not sold out and the stadium is a massive white elephant that is a really poor design.
    It will cost £5 million a year to maintain and they are now asking the landlord for £2 million a year , its a massive black hole . Just sell the thing to the highest bidder and cut our loses. Athletics doesn't make money !!!

  • Comment number 22.

    @ #19 Those dastardly, nefarious chairmen of Tottenham and Leyton Orient, doing their damndest to ruin the altrusitic, charitable, Saintly works of Messers & m'Dam, Sullivan, Gold and Brady.

    What has the world come to eh?!

  • Comment number 23.

    I am sure the 10 people who watch and enjoy athletics will be happy with all the spare room when they get to watch the events in 2013 and beyond.

  • Comment number 24.

    David - "...Or have ministers and the mayor now finally done away with the whole pretence of trying to acommodate two incompatible sports and accepted that for London to keep its Olympic promise the public are going to have to just foot the bill. And if West Ham or any other football club don't fancy playing there, well tough...."

    .......Spot on!! 'Joe public' dips his/her hand in their pockets once again to pay for the vanity and ambition of our Politicians, Lordships and Sporting elite. Lets hope the UK public as a whole is not burdened with this London mess... but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you!!

  • Comment number 25.

    The only thing I'm confident about in this saga, is that the publicly stated reason is not the real reason for the climbdown. Or certainly not the main reason.

    Meantime, can someone give me the address of the EU commission that accepts and publishes anonymous complaints? There's a few other things I'd like to have a little chat with them about.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm all for the regeneration and the Olympics but how can a stadium that bland looking cost more than £500million? That's twice as much as Soccer City in South Africa, and the Beijing national stadium - which might have been completed ignorant of human rights and in a communist state but they still spent big and it looked fairly awesome. How can a government haemorrhage funds like this? It rings true in every quarter too; from MPs expenses to the billions wasted in MoD overspends and favouring British defence contractors.

    It's a huge bland costly white elephant.

  • Comment number 27.

    THFC seem to have the proverbial bullet hole in their metatarsel.

    Lose the tender process, become unpopular by making a nuisance of yourself. Then thanks to your efforts see your competitor get a better deal by only having to pay rent and not buy the stadium (albeit with running track) to the expense of the public purse.

  • Comment number 28.

    Everyone keeps going on about this legacy?! What would have been a good legacy would be to have sold the OS to the highest bidder and invested the 600 million pounds plus in school athletics throughout the country, improving facilities and equipment and maybe in the future we will have a group of sports man who are truly at the top of their fields, rather than a half used growing in debt whit elephant.

  • Comment number 29.

    You'd have to say this is a result for WHU. Legal wrangles, EU interference and inter club rivalry all done away with at a stroke. Simply put, the tenant of choice can now be granted agreement to occupy the stadium citing no more than a 'preferred tenant' by the landlord. Very clever and maybe this alternative had been hatched a long while ago?

  • Comment number 30.

    To those who blame THFC let's get a few facts straight:
    1. Spurs were encouraged to bid by the OPLC and were always upfront about their plans. The OPLC were happy to let them proceed.
    2. West Ham's loan from Newham was shady from the start (as reported by the BBC) and quite clearly amounts to State aid. They and the OPLC knew they'd lose the JR and have tried to find a way to save their skins.
    3. Orient would have been just as capable as Spurs of derailing this process given the nature of Wet Ham's bid.
    Throughout this process the media, including the BBC, have harped on about £500mln worth of stadium being torn down whenever they mention the Spurs plans, when the truth is that the cost of redevoping the site was £500mln but the stadium was about £180mln and that the top tiers were always deigned to be removed after the games. I know it's not quite so emotive as half a billion pounds being burned but it's the truth!
    The entire blame for this debacle lays at the feet of the Labour government and the OPLC who have been so cavalier with taxpayers money that it beggars belief.
    I'm sure that Spurs and Orient will sue the OPLC and anyone else involved in the bidding process for the money that was wasted and they'll probably win.

  • Comment number 31.

    @#28 Exactly!!

    It beggars belief that after the Millenium Dome the same bunch of numpties made precisely the same error, namely believing you first build the arena and then try and think what you can fill it with.

    In the case of the Olympic Stadium the athletics lobby will have you believe that even though they can't sell out 10k seater stadia for the biggest athletics events outside of the international Championships, they nevertheless require a 60k stadium to promote athletics around the country.

    In fact athletics has a massive and honourable tradition of small clubs and dedicated volunteer coaches, supported by enthusiastic parents training up our stars of tomorrow.

    It's not a massive spectator sport and never will be because it's not tribal like the major team sports.

    What then athletics required as a legacy was better training facilities up and down the country where the youngsters live and centres of regional coaching excellence where keen amateur coaches can do their subsidised badges and talented kids can access the best in modern training methods.

    Had they designed an Olympic Stadium which cost half as much to build (a lot of the cost was in designing something that could be later converted into a 25k seater stadium), in consultation with a Premier League club with a view to converting it to an all-seater football stadium which could the be sold for £200m or so, then the athletics community would have had a great deal of cash to put towards just such a vision.

    Instead, the stadium will be used for the World Champs in 2014 (if London wins it; unlikely) and once this current generation of politicians are gone and it's clear that Athletics audiences can't justify a massive stadium it will be quietly sold to West Ham for a song who will promptly sell the club to a billionaire who in turn will simply rip up the track and turn it into something fit for purpose.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    Another big payday for the lawyers sorting all this out, paid for by...

    ...the taxpayer !

  • Comment number 34.

    As a Spurs fan, I absolutely want to see the redevelopment of White Hart Lane, keeping the club in Tottenham and not going near Stratford. I'm glad that this is now looking much more likely.

    But as a sports fan and a taxpayer, the Spurs bid always seemed to make a lot more sense than West Ham's, converting the Olympic stadium to a football and concert stadium while redeveloping Crystal Palace into a modern athletics-only venue with a suitable capacity, sort of the best of both worlds.

    Most of all, though, this has been as terribly ill-thought out process from the lack of retractable seats, through to the very late decision to all football clubs to bid after all, to this week's fiasco.

    At 15:25 11th Oct 2011, mpk87 wrote:

    They should have decided to hold the olympics in the Millennium Dome. That way way we would only end up with one, and not two, outrageously over-priced and underused relics of 'ambition' and 'legacy' rotting in our capital city.

    Umm, (a) plenty of Olympic events are being held there, and (b) the O2 Arena has become something of a massive success story over the last few years, certainly not 'rotting'.

  • Comment number 35.

    It should have been designed from the beginning with future use in mind, avoiding the need for a costly conversion afterwards. I bet when the Olympics start, we'll see 20,000 empty seats anyway...

  • Comment number 36.

    The IOC cannot be too happy to see the main stadium still have no official legacy...

  • Comment number 37.

    I hope West Ham reconsider and pull out altogether. I hope that no one wants it. UK Athletics is a mess, had to be wound up twice before because it couldn't pay damages to athletes like Diane Modal. Keep the stadium, keep the running track, keep the high cost of maintenance, hopefully no one will want to take it on and it can all be sold for scrap metal.
    A complete shambolic farce blited by the politics of envy from LO and Spurs.

  • Comment number 38.

    the national football stadium should have coincided with a proposed olympic bid before wembley was rebuilt with a football academy on the proposed olympic park.after the games the track is removed and the ground is dug down the provide the lower tier to provide a stadium for the fa and england.too big for a premier league ground.

  • Comment number 39.

    Athletics is not widely supported and besides the Olympic blips of interest will never be. Lets face it if the Olympic legacy is that crystal palace can sell out more often great stuff, but its small size shows true interest in British athletics.

    Sell the stadium to the highest bidder and be happy that some cost are retrieved. Paying for the revamp and subsidizing the stadium is the worst legacy we could have.

    I really have no idea why we subsides sports which can’t sustain themselves? If people enjoy watching them make them pay more to support it if that’s enough then make them live within their own means.

  • Comment number 40.

    Why are we all so suprised? The original receommendations stated that the Stadium as designed was not fit for purpose in terms of the future. 16 days of Atheletics in front of a sparce crowd isn't going to pay off the debts etc and build a legacy. All this was ignored and they ploughed on regardless. Wondeful stuff

    After the Rugby fiaso at the weekend, another example of a governing body that is not fit for purpose in this country when Sport is concerned. Everyone else has to pay the penalty Greece and Sysdney have all paid the price. Have we learnt? have we heck..hell, we know best.

    Business as usual then.

  • Comment number 41.

    If a temporary structure, i.e. the Olympic Stadium, is good enough for the Olympics then surely a temporary structure is good enough of the IFAA championships, the staging of which sees to be the criteria OPLC are using to determine the size of legacy stadium required.

    If a temporary stadium is satisfactory, because the reality is athletics events in the UK DO NOT draw large enough crowds to regularly fill a 60,000 seat stadium, then OPLC ignoring Spurs bid seems utter folly. Please remember Spurs bid included redeveloping Crystal Palace into a dedicated, expandable capacity stadium as well as redeveloping the Olympic stadium site into a dedicated football stadium. Please also remember athletics and football Are not happy bedfellows and those very few stadiums world wide with retractable seating are not successfully housing both sports at the highest level.

    This entire bidding and allocation process stinks to high heaven, if not of corruption, then at least of absurd posturing and ego, to wit one Sebastian Coe who truly does not seem to have his feet planted on terra firma when he talks of athletic stadium usage and revenues in the UK.

    All this is written as a Spurs supporter who is not particularly interested in a move to Stratford, but who, as an ex-pat, is highly embarrassed looking at yet another ludicrous UK wrangle with the perspective of distance which the rest of the world enjoys.

    My God, the UK can be truly embarrassing at times!

  • Comment number 42.

    Not so much a U-turn as a U-bend.

    Given the amount being paid to various lawyers for all this, why not just hand the stadium over to them in part payment for their invaluable and effective help in resolving this dispute.

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm not a Spurs fan, and their bid would not have secured the legacy that the BOC promised in their bid, but the THFC bid was, and still is, the only one that made any financial sense. They were only bidder who could guarentee to generate the revenue required to run the stadium. There was never any way that Gold and Sullivan were going to plough money in. Even if WHFC hadn't gone down - with the expected loss in club revenue - they would have found it tricky.

    This deal was all about saving face. But, as so often happens when that's your primary concern, they've ended up with egg on it.

  • Comment number 44.

    This shows just how misguided the London Olympic bid was - let's build a stadium for "one sport" that can't fill it other than exceptionally huge events (especially given that there's another 70k+ stadium across the city) and then decide that we need a football club, the most transient of sports investment business you can find, to keep it open so that we can use it no more than 5-6 times a year (and given that will mean no more meets anywhere else in the country to keep it open). If UK Athletics can't keep it open then I think the Government should expropriate it and sell it to the highest bidder after the Olympics, whoever that may be and then use some of the proceeds to build on brown-land in the Midlands a national athletics stadium and then use the rest of the proceeds to pay down the debt of hosting the event - and furthermore I suggest that other than events that are selfsustaining e.g. FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup, Rugby League 4-nations or smaller world events like World Rowing; that the Government don't back them.

    BTW I come from the North East of England and I'm going to see precisly zero of the Olympics as I don't even know who's playing football at SJP (so why should I part with £40+ for two tickets....) My Scottish associates are even worse off especially those on the West coast without rapid transit to London.

  • Comment number 45.

    Just put up a "Pick your own seat" notice and let the public take the unwanted seats away. That is assuming that there is any need to get rid of seating.

  • Comment number 46.

    Why do the Olympics need to leave a "legacy" to football?

    Aren't there enough football playgrounds already?

  • Comment number 47.

    **Or have ministers and the mayor now finally done away with the whole pretence of trying to acommodate two incompatible sports and accepted that for London to keep its Olympic promise the public are going to have to just foot the bill.**

    Here we go, yet again the public expected to bail out yet another failed project. We couldn't afford the Olympics when we bid for them, it was done on a budget that was no where near enough and as we see now, with recession, inflation and now this debacle about legacy use it seems joe public is called on to pay for it. Its a joke or would be except its not funny. The BBC have carried out a 'slash and burn' policy of cuts in order to be able to finance the broadcast rights regardless of what licence payers want. All in all, like many olympics held the world over, we're going to be left with a legacy of debt that taxpayers, especially londoners, are going to be paying for for decades to come. We're going to have stadiums left to go to 'rack and ruin', an olympic village that will become a millionaires playground, priced beyond mere mortals, (the original intention was for affordable homes for the masses) The whole rotten mess is an embarrassment to the UK and those responsible should hang their heads in shame.

  • Comment number 48.

    what a farce, posturing incompetents surrounded by back slapping no nowts who couldn't find their own backside with both hands. speeches ,junkets, ideas with no substance,unsustainable expenditure,doesn't matter someone else will pay.lawyers rubbing their hands in joyful anticipation of lots of lovely money chucked their way from people with space instead of brains,another cock up,wouder what the next one will be like,probably much like the others,hot air, speeches, junkets,etc etc etc.

  • Comment number 49.

    More money down the tubes for non-Londoners.
    Yes, they're paying more council tax for it, but that's for something on their doorstep, and gain the benefits of increased spending on Infrastructure.

    The rest of the UK meanwhile gain little, and often have worked out worse off thanks for lottery funding draining away to the Olympics.

  • Comment number 50.

    @ 47 - totally agree with you mate - I laughed that the BBC got rid of 606 which covered minority sports in the run up to Olympics 2012 (to be replaced by blogs of varying quality - just like the varying quality of 606 posts) and what's more in the same 12 months as the RWC, England getting to number 1 in the Test cricket arena, the Euro 2012 competion, Olympics and Paralympics (which I notice are getting loads and loads of publicity chucked at them).

    Quite simply football and rugby league are the only sports capable of filling grounds of 15k+ week in-week out in this country other than Leicester Tigers at Welford Road and depending on the weather a few Twenty:20 cricket matches (which obviously can be called off at the slightess drop of rain and are really only a 4 month window in 12 months).

    Now you're going to get the Athletics folks moaning about "football winning again" e.g. City of Manchester stadium going to MCFC and perhaps the Oympic stadium going to WHUFC or THFC but realistically if it wasn't for a football club getting the chance to move it (or maybe two rugby clubs moving in - one couldn't sustain it) then they would be bankrupt within weeks as they couldn't afford it - the Met would have kittens if three huge gigs were going on in London so they surely couldn't have thought just giving it to a gig promotions company would have worked?

  • Comment number 51.

    @50 There's a further irony in the way the BBC cuts and so called budget saving methods are and have been implemented. They're moving the vast majority of BBC output from London to Manchester just at the time the Olympics are being held. That means additional costs moving staff and equipment back to London, arranging accomodation for staff who moved permanently to Manchester so in essence will cost more than it needed to anyway. You just couldn't make it up. More public money wasted along with the so called Olympic legacy.

  • Comment number 52.

    19 and 20, really, you truly, truly believe that do you? this is about spurs, and levy in particular, highlighting a quite disgusting process (although who'd have thought any less from the quite lovely group now running west ham). Let's have a look at some facts rather than mudslinging. A company that is bankrupt and in the worst financial state of any club in the whole country (it's OWN chairman's words, not mine) somehow manages to get a loan for £40m - nothing dodgy about that. West Ham has a paid member of the OLPC board. I realise they're claiming no links at all but come on, it doesn't matter, it stinks. And then, Tottenham, a borough who has been the lowest funded borough in the entire country for years puts in a judicial review and, oh look, suddenly we're awarded a few million. And now the icing on the cake: the OPLC collapse their own deal with Wet Spam to prevent the sordid details coming out at the Judicial Review... And no one bats an eyelid! Taxpayer's OS costs will now run to £750M + for a 25,000 athletics stadium with no roof, toilets or corporate facilities... And no anchor tenant to make the public any money back. Nice work Lord Coe. The whole process is a disgrace, and no, we don't even want it, i think this is levy just trying to screw west ham and force them to keep the running track, which has never worked, ever. lastly, @14, i hope that's a joke, 40,000 people? they didn't even get 20,000, that's part of their problem.

  • Comment number 53.

    One has to wonder how Tottenham Football Club's sponsors feel about the way Tottenham have acted in all of this. It will be interesting to see whether any sponsors start to distance themselves from the club and not renew their association with the club when sponsorship deals come up for renewal .

  • Comment number 54.

    what 53? WHAT? what on earth have we done wrong? first, everyone needs to get it out of their heads that having a football stadium and running track works. It doesn't. I think there are three left in the whole world that are used regularly and they lose money. Second, all we've done is highlight the disgraceful process. I defy you to tell me anything we've done that contravenes process, unlike West Ham. And lastly, I believe we signed a split sponsorship deal while we were in the middle of this process, so not only did we not lose sponsors, we signed an extra one. good luck to you, 53. breathe, breathe, breathe, at least i kept you alive for another three.

  • Comment number 55.

    Fact 2011 world athletic championships total attendance 184000 over 28 sessions average attendance 6700! In the current economic climate taking this £500 million economic folly back into public ownership because it preserves the integrity of 2017 world athletic championships, and is a good deal seems high risk and forgive me plain stupid.

  • Comment number 56.

    A wonderful day for Irons fans. We all thought that we had reached the point of no return, but hopefully have just dodged that bullet!
    Three proud clubs are involved in this. None of their fans deserve to be treated in this way and allow their club to be martyr's for the games by being lumbered with the stadium forever more.
    Fans of all three clubs should rejoice. Never thought I would be this idebted to our Northern neighbours, although have come to expect the helpful support from our Cockney brothers.
    Let's hope Borris was taking out of turn earlier. I would hate for us to jump out of the frying pan and in to the fire.

  • Comment number 57.

    No. 53. - I am sure you are a very sensible chap in real life, but you have written a few very silly posts there. Still, Tottenham have done us the greatest favour today.
    Let's all rejoice.

  • Comment number 58.

    Are we sure that this isn't a story line for footballers wives? London politics - don't you just love it (NOT!)

  • Comment number 59.

    Once again it's the Tory government looking after the rich southerners. Why must it always be the Tory supporting south who get everything ?!

  • Comment number 60.

    I live in Melbourne. We have a stadium purpose built, which has two football teams, a rugby league team and rugby union team all co-existing at the same stadium. So why not more than one team at the Olympic Stadium? We also have two other stadiums which play two matches a weekend in AFL. So again I ask why not a ground share?

  • Comment number 61.

    I never cease to be amazed by how easily led the general public appears to be. Blaming Tottenham for the mess that Sebastian Coe and the OPLC have allowed us to get into is quite ludicrous. There is a reason why Tottenham were given permission to proceed with the Judicial Review. The judge that heard their case patently though they had grounds to do so. And why were their grounds? Simply because the OPLC didn't cross the t's, dot the i's and follow to the letter the bidding process that they themselves set up.

    As to Mr Robertson MP stating that the stadium isn't a white elephant and that two clubs are "fighting tooth and nail" to obtain tenancy - and comparing it to Manchester City - he conveniently forgets they were allowed to remove the track.

    UK Athletics should bear the brunt of the cost, they seem to be the ones insisting we keep a 60,000 stadium for ONE Athletics championship (that we probably won't be awarded). What happens after that? One man and his dog watching some wanna-be 17year old pounding the track? That'll keep the stadium profitable.

  • Comment number 62.

    Reply to sportsgrouch. If you do spend good money on a ticket you could well end up having the best competitors disqualified for a false start. Good deal that! (sarc). And then have some loon telling you it is the same as boxing ko or a football red card. As you said attendances are not great for the average athletics meet so why go at all, if they kick out the competitors before they start!

  • Comment number 63.

    @60, Football clubs own their own grounds, AFL clubs don't. (The San Siro is public).
    But the main reason? Much as it may be inane, it's largely true. Supporters do not want to share grounds with other clubs. The rivalry in England cannot be compared to the rivalry in AFL.

  • Comment number 64.

    The politicians of our once great nation wonder why they are held in such low esteem these days?

    As a nation we're skint. We can't even afford to pay for our young people to be educated any more - they have to borrow the money and pay interest at inflation plus 5% or whatever, ensuring a life of debt and poverty.

    Yet we do have enough money to spend £9.3bn on a 2-3 week sports event centred around sports that most people don't really really give a stuff about.

    And then we have enough money to refurbish a stadium and hand it over to some millionaires running a football club that pays individual players millions of pounds each a year, and we'll charge them less than the annual maintenance costs as yearly rent.

    Our politicians wonder why the London economy is "resilient" whilst the rest of the country sinks into a depression. I'll give you 9.3bn reasons for starters.

    The government had a process to decide where to spend billions on the millennium dome - "i know, how about London, they never get a look in".

    Then the "new" Wembley - where to build the new national football stadium? "How about London, they never get a look in".

    And then we decide to bid for the Olympics. "How about London, it'll only cost £2-3bn and will pay for itself.

    We never had money to save our car industry, or mining or steel. But when the banking sector, heart of London's economy collapsed, the government couldn't pour money into the rotting carcass fast enough.

    Its surprising we haven't had a revolution yet.

  • Comment number 65.

    @62. Off topic, but I love the irony that the false start disqualification was brought in so that TV companies could keep to their schedules (races took too long when they had to be frequently restarted) - and as a result, the very people they want to broadcast are excluded from the race! :(

  • Comment number 66.

    Unfortunately this is a master-stroke of poor planning at a time we can't really afford it. I have to agree that the lack of foresight in terms of planning/building a stadium with an agreed (well in advance) usage after the games is incredible.

    I also have to say that much as I like to see the UK do well in any sports, the Athletics brigade expecting the tax payer to foot (at least a large part of) the bill for them holding a couple of events a year at this stadium (and potentially affecting other usage which would contribute more toward the upkeep) is during these tough times, frankly a bit insipid. Ironically, the original Tottenham bid (which I'm glad didn't go through as a Spurs fan), involved less public funding and building a smaller, more realistic and cheaper to maintain athletics arena.

    Anyone else thinking of how long the Millenium dome went empty for...

  • Comment number 67.

    Apologies for stepping back in here but I've realised how angry this decision is making me and I'm wondering if there are any lawyers out there who can help. How is this legal? Spurs call for Judicial Review. A judge agrees. OLPC, government, West Ham, etc., all so concerned at what is going to come out in the review that OLPC just cancel the offer? So if I commit fraud in a deal, am then found out, can I just say I don't want to do the deal any more and that's the end of it? How is it legal that they can just cancel this and end the judicial review process?

  • Comment number 68.

    The whole thing is a farce. As a West Ham fan I am still confused as to why Spurs would ever want to up sticks and move 7 miles across London in the first place? The stadium is right slap bang in the middle of West Ham and the 'O's ground effectively leading to the question, 'Why not ground share'? Spurs need to take a long hard look at themselves and the way they have behaved over the whole affair. They have been the main cause of all of this and clearly have done it with the sole intention of being able to put pressure on the Mayor of Londons office to gain support and funding for their own development of WHL. They should be asshamed at the way they have behaved, embarrasing ourselves worldwide for the good of them and them only. We're now the laughing stock of the World and not just europe. Well done Spurs! You've never been wanted in Stratford and never will!

  • Comment number 69.

    17. At 15:25 11th Oct 2011, mpk87 wrote:
    They should have decided to hold the olympics in the Millennium Dome. That way way we would only end up with one, and not two, outrageously over-priced and underused relics of 'ambition' and 'legacy' rotting in our capital city.

    The Millennium Dome, now known as the O2 Arena, is one of the best and most profitable multi-event venues in London right now. It holds upwards of 50 major concerts each year as well as exhibitions, performances and corporate events.

    It is also going to be hosting some of the Olympic events.

  • Comment number 70.

    Couldn't they stage a test match there once a year. England v Australia would definitely sell 60,000 seats. Surely some way could be found to remove/cover the track.

    For Athletics 60,000 will never sell out for Grand Prixs unless they have a very long term strategy for getting more people interested. Free tickets for kids maybe.

    Also, if a permanent NFL team is based in London 60,000 is more realistic than the 90,000 at Wembley.

    Any other ideas for how they could run the stadium without a football club in it?

  • Comment number 71.

    So Tottenham put in a rediculous proposal to bulldoze the whole thing and take out the running track - but get millions of free taxpayers money to develop white hart lane instead.

    The OPLC pull out of the west ham deal and instead of the taxpayers money coming from Newham council to redevelop the stadium, it comes from taxpayers money already received by the OPLC or further taxpayers money.

    If west ham move in they no longer need the taxpayers loan. And it should be remembered that it was a loan, not expecting the taxpayer to foot the bill permanently. It would have been paid back. Yet West Ham were the ones being vilified and having legal action taken against them???

    Whoever moves in, it's doubtful that the Waltham Forest based, not Hackney, Leyton Orient, will get anything from this but are somehow claiming a victory. This was just Barry Hearn trying to appease their fans and trying to play with the big boys.

    If West Ham still get the stadium then they deserve it for what was the best deal for the taxpayer and everyone else. And good luck to them. It is Orient's and Spurs legal proceedings that have made the OPLC pull out of selling. So blame them if it ends up being you footing the bill, whether west ham go there or not.

  • Comment number 72.

    It's certainly good new for the residents of Newham, who dubiously were about to lend WHU £40m.
    Isn't the problem here, that the stadium was designed to be temporary, and to be reduced to a permanent 30k size after the Olympics, but that this option was found to be uneconomic, when it was too late to change the design. If, say one of the London rugby clubs had decided to move in, or Essex CC, then none of this football related fiasco would have happened.
    If back in 2006 it had been agreed that WHU would take over the stadium, then presumably they would have designed it differently, with retractable seating etc

  • Comment number 73.

    The reason this wasn't done in the first place is down to public tendering. They deliberately left the terms of the first tendering vague to allow Spurs the chance to bid. Otherwise, they would have been accused of 'shooing in West Ham', which would have been against regulations. This made Spurs very happy, because they could put the 'rip it up' bid in, which would have made financial sense for them, given the transport links. When that didn't work out, they made the best of it by using the judicial review as leverage in their White Hart Lane negotiations. I guess Levy was a bit peeved in being led to believe they stood a chance in hell of getting the OS. Understandable. But then the OPLC didn't have much choice either, playing by the rules of public tendering. As ever, it's the rules that cause the chaos.

  • Comment number 74.

    @71 Kittthehammer

    The best deal would be to sell the thing to the highest bidder and stop the football and athletic parasites living off the back of the tax paying public who don't live in London !
    Athletics makes no money ! West Ham make no money !

  • Comment number 75.

    @71 The only self-funded deal on the table was THFC's.

    I agree that the idea of knocking the OS down and building a purpose built football stadium just feels wrong. However there was a reason that a well-run, rich, profitable and well-supported club like THFC didn't put in a bid which would have included the running track. Had they, they'd have won on the financials alone. They must have known this and yet they weren't interested. They think you can't be profitable with a running track around the pitch.

    Who's business acumen are you going to trust when it comes to football, Sullivan, Gold and Brady's or Levy's, who would you prefer to be in charge of your club?

    So THFC put in the only viable bid, both in terms of having the cash and supporter base today and the long-term vision of what works and what doesn't. Sullivan, Gold and Brady however are looking for the fast buck. They're not bothered about the long-term interests of WHU, they will be looking to sell as soon as it's confirmed they have the stadium.

    As for costing the tax payer least, THFC offered to take on the stadium and wouldn't have used a penny of tax payers money to do so.

    Under the current (new) proposal, the tax payer will have to fork out £70m additional which it will then hope to claw back through annual rental over several decades.

    West Ham will contribute noting towards this but for a pepper-corn rent.

    As for public funding of THFC's proposed stadium development in Haringey again this project is funded entirely by THFC, what they're asking for is that some of the extra bits of cash they'd typically have to find for regenerating the surrounding area in return for receiving planning permission (S106) be waived. This therefore is not money coming out of the public coffers, but rather money that THFC would have paid into the public coffers. For example Tottenham Hale Train and tube station is being upgraded and as part of their granted planning aplication TFL asked for £10m from Spurs to go towards this (even though it's a couple of miles away from the ground.) You can contrast this, for example, to the £50m TFL agreed to pump into improving the surrounding tube stations when Arsenal were redeveloping their ground, to which AFC contributed little or nothing.

    Tottenham is currently on its knees, the council have ploughed all their spare cash and hoovered up any grants going into a business retail development in the South of the borough. What they wanted was THFC to carry all the load of regenerating the North of the borough on their own, all the club has asked is that the load be lessened somewhat and that the political movers and shakers stop making positive noises but sitting on their hands, and instead roll up their sleeves and make stuff happen.

  • Comment number 76.

    @71 kitthehammer, you are so misinformed it's laughable.
    Tottenham weren't going to bulldoze the whole thing, they were going to RECYCLE 50M worth of the stadium. The foundations - the main part of the stadium would remain untouched. Quite ludicrously the stadium was designed without even corporate boxes. You don't think the spammers would need to do rebuilding work?

    If the OPLC hadn't ruled out football clubs using the stadium at its inception we wouldn't be having this discussion now. It's the OPLC that have been short sighted - they are the ones everyone should be pointing their fingers at, not Spurs or West Ham.

    As a Spurs fan I hope we don't go to Stratford, but the bottom line is the Spurs bid is the only one that stood up financially. What's made the OPLC end the current process is the the European intervention (rather than the Orient/Spurs litigation) and the pretty obvious fact they knew they were on shakey grounds.

  • Comment number 77.

    Why not just make the Olympic Stadium the new national football stadium and sell-off Wembly instead?

  • Comment number 78.

    After reading the latest news about the government intervening in football, having solved all other problems of the country (LOL) it very strangely feels relieving seeing the trio in the top photograph - Gold, Brady and Sullivan.

    Even these three look innocent in comparison to a government intervention LOL

  • Comment number 79.

    @ 77.At 12:46 12th Oct 2011, Justanotherspursfan

    Why not just make the Olympic Stadium the new national football stadium and sell-off Wembly instead?


    Because Wembley has the history and all worldwide clubs and footballers want to play there, even if it was only once :)

  • Comment number 80.


    Understand your point, however there isn't much of the 'history' there anymore - what with it being recently rebuilt.

    Anyhow... The England team might actualy be able to win a home game if we played somewhere other than Wembley!

    I dunno... It was just a thought!

  • Comment number 81.

    @ 74.At 11:22 12th Oct 2011, noelhall,

    I think you're so wrong it would feel very embarrassing if you paid some thought about what you wrote before posting it.

    Society needs to have avenues so that citizens will be able to use specialist premises so that they will be able to take part in more activities than the ones readily available.

    When you think about the activities readily available, think of arm-chair tv, brainwash in soaps, SKY, think also of the danger of drugs and many other negative aspects of everyday life.

    Then, think how much those readily available activities cost the NHS (since you raise the financial issue) and I'm sure you will even find financial profit to society when citizens engage in sports activities and exercise themselves, instead of being non thinking, fat living organisms.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ 80.At 12:56 12th Oct 2011, Justanotherspursfan,

    Using common sense, I can only come to the conclusionn that the Olympic Stadium with the area around the pitch, before the seats, for classic sports availability, would be very unsuitable for Spurs. It would feel like playing the home matches away, because the home fans parametre would be missing. I think this was the prime reason for Spurs not to be hot on the Olympic Stadium from the start.

    West Ham will always want the stadium. Sullivan and Gold think (along with a calculator) of seats available that people will pay lots of money to occupy. I don't think they care about the fans because stadia that support classical sports are not suitable for football.

    Let's wait and see how the situation will develop.
    As a citizen and tax payer, I support the idea for the stadium to be owned by the city council and rented to clubs, to support its maintainance costs.

    Renting the Olympic stadium would also help in avoiding exploitation of clubs, like Crystal Palace, who owned their stadium, sold it and rented it privately afterwards and are in deep trouble ever since.

  • Comment number 83.

    @A Football_Fan.

    THFC decided the Olympic stadium with running track wasn't viable as a football stadium because all the evidence from around the world shows that attendances fall when clubs share with athletics facilities. It was a financial decision by Levy.

    Question is if an astute business man like Levy can't make the sums add up for a club like THFC, which is better supported, wealthier, has a higher profile, is in the PL and is more successful than West Ham who already have to offer special kids for a quid type deals to fill their 36k Boleyn stadium, then what have the dodgy duo of Gold and Sullivan with their trusty side-kick Brady seen that makes them think they can make it work?

    The only possible answers are either they've genuinely got it wrong, or they're planning on using the prestige and potential of the Olympic Stadium to sell the club to an over-seas billionaire. In the second scenario they're not thinking about the long-term interests of the club, its fans or indeed the athletics legacy. They just want to make a quick buck.

    Anyway, what I meant to say to you was that contrary to what you suggest, if it's a loss maker for THFC then it's a loss maker for WHU.

    Oh, and btw, you may be a tax payer, but you're not a citizen, in this country we're all subjects of the Queen.

  • Comment number 84.

    Just knock the sodding monstrosity of a stadium down and build some affordable housing in its place.

    West Ham have no reason to leave Upton Park, Spurs owe it to their local community to stay in Tottenham and Leyton Orient can have another decade or two before they go inevitably go bust regardless. It also gives something to the local East London community - long overdue, given the rest of the Olympic development has given the grand some of nothing.

    What box does that radical solution leave unchecked then?

  • Comment number 85.

    The Welsh got it spot on, great stadium, great price, giving an excellent match-day experience. Did anyone ask them for advice?

    Of course they didn't try to build a legacy - just a multi-purpose national stadium. They planned in advance (when planning should be done) and here we are with the stadium nearly complete deciding its future.

    Knighthood anyone?

  • Comment number 86.

    @64 - couldn't have put it better myself

  • Comment number 87.

    The Welsh didn't have to include an athletics track, and all the facilities need to hold track and field.

    I'm surprised Spurs didn't offer to rebuild the stadium, but with retractable stands to allow athletics in the summer. This would be horribly expensive, but keep the athletics 'legacy'.

  • Comment number 88.

    Our politicians wonder why the London economy is "resilient" whilst the rest of the country sinks into a depression. I'll give you 9.3bn reasons for starters.

    The SE of England - officially the UK's top subsidy junkies

  • Comment number 89.

    Guys, stop with the chips on the shoulder why don't you. I can't speak for the S.E in general (my experience is that much of it's pretty hideous; the land of the little Englander), but London is an amazing city. One of the World's great cities. There's simply no comparison between it and any other city in the UK, even comparing a place like Manchester to London is akin to comparing somewhere like Paisley to Glasgow (in fact the difference is probably much starker).

    As such there's absolutely no surprise why so much investment goes into the place, just as it's no surprise that the BBC would chose to relocate to Manchester (Salford) but never in a million years consider Bolton.

    Accept it and be proud that as a small country we can boast such a globally significant city.

    This all from a provincial boy, albeit one latterly living in London.

  • Comment number 90.

    @ 64.
    At 00:05 12th Oct 2011, U12171424,

    Great posting!

  • Comment number 91.

    Number 26 says the Chinese Olympic stadium had "been completed ignorant of human rights". Who constructed the stadium at Stratford then? It was not local people, it was very poorly paid people, brought in by gangmasters - 100% searches of every employee, every day, as they go in to work. Would anyone be prepared to go in to a very ethnically mixed area (and one with high unemployment) like Stratford or Forest Gate, and tell those people why an overwhelmingly white labour force was imported in to the area to work on the Olympic site?

    Race prejudice is totally against the Olympic spirit, yet I suspect this prejudice was a major reason why local people were not employed on the Olympic site. The final insult is Coe asking the locals to work as volunteers at the Olympics; while he is on £365,000 a year.

    Leyton Orient will be unable to continue with any major club so close to their current ground; whether the intruding club owns or rents the Olympic stadium. So Orient, one of the football clubs most active in community work (second only to Charlton, and much better than either Spurs or West Ham) will be driven out of the area. Even further damage done to this area, by the disaster which is the Olympics.

    PS - All people outside of London, do not think this huge Olympic spending is money "spent on London"; it is money spent in London, but not money spent for the benefit of the local people.

  • Comment number 92.

    Why is athletics calling the shots here? They make a promise that no-one else agreed to, to leave a legacy as part of their "say anything to get the games" bid. Suddenly they have a white elephant stadium that they are desperate to sell off and yet are still calling the shots. If they want their legacy let British Athletics pay for it!

    As for the two bids, the West Ham 'loan' always looked dodgy. As local government contracts by 25% they can find £40m at local government rates to fund a football stadium? I'm sure the library staff and hospital workers of Newham will be thrilled as they dish out burgers and programs to West Ham fans on a Saturday afternoon.

    Come to think of it I wonder if Newham could loan me some money at local government rates?

    Spurs bid (though I don't want to leave Haringey) was the only financially viable option. How the OPLC can judge that 3 days a year of access to a running track is preferable to a purpose built stadium at Crystal Palace is beyond me?! Spurs offered a privately funded venture at no expense to the tax payer yet still the OPLC thought loaning public money from Newham was preferable?!

    And then to cap the whole thing off, the OPLC pull a Jack Warner and call the whole thing off to avoid proper scrutiny by a Judicial Review of the process. That doesn't make it look like something dodgy was going on at all because as we all know, if the thing is investigated, innocence is maintained.

    The only decent thing is that in loaning the stadium West Ham won't be able to rip out the track in a couple of years after deciding that it didn't work. Would you trust Gold and Sullivan?

  • Comment number 93.

    With this horrible Olympic stadium become our D'elli Alpi, so hated by Juve and Torino fans that they used to boycott matches.


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