London

Tottenham begins London Olympics stadium High Court bid

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has launched legal action at London's High Court over West Ham United's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Stadium.

Spurs said it had sought permission from the court to bring a claim against the east London Borough of Newham.

Newham Council arranged a £40m loan to finance West Ham's move to the stadium after the 2012 Games.

In March, Tottenham lost out to West Ham to become the tenant of the stadium following the Games.

West Ham intends to convert the 80,000-seater stadium into a 60,000-capacity facility which retains an athletics track.

It is believed Tottenham will ask the judicial review to consider whether Newham Council was right to use public money for the loan, and whether it went through proper processes before doing so.

In January BBC London revealed a series of potential "abuses" of the process leading up to the loan, including:

  • Crucial documents explaining the bid in detail being withheld from councillors until shortly before the vote
  • No explanation as to whether the council would be liable for the debt if relegation-threatened West Ham defaulted
  • A "significant number" of councillors holding reservations - but refusing to speak openly because they are allegedly "afraid" of missing out on lucrative positions
  • Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales declaring dozens of gifts from West Ham, with critics saying his impartiality has been compromised

At the time the council denied all wrongdoing.

In a statement, Tottenham said: "The club has today sought permission from the High Court to bring a claim against the London Borough of Newham ("Newham") for judicial review of Newham's process in providing a loan for the conversion of the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games.

"The club wrote to Newham asking it to explain its reasons and justification for its decision, but Newham has declined to respond to this request for information.

"Due to the time limits which apply to claims for judicial review, the club has had no alternative but to issue these proceedings in order to protect its position.

"The club continues to hold discussions with both local and national government bodies in order to seek to agree a feasible stadium solution."

The BBC revealed in March that Spurs had sent letters warning of court action to Newham Council and the Olympic Park Legacy Company.

West Ham plans to move from Upton Park in 2014-15.

Tottenham's joint bid with AEG sport and entertainment group had set out to create a football-only stadium without the track and to redevelop Crystal Palace for athletics.

West Ham, Newham Council and the OPLC, which is in charge of securing the future of the Olympic Park after the Games, all said they would not comment about the new development.

The OPLC's choice of West Ham as preferred bidder was rubber-stamped by London mayor Boris Johnson and the UK government.

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