Olympic Stadium bidding process 'not compromised'

By David BondBBC sports editor
Olympic Stadium
The Stratford stadium will become West Ham's home after the 2012 Games

An independent probe into the decision to award West Ham United the Olympic Stadium has concluded the bidding process was not compromised.

The inquiry was launched following allegations an Olympic Park Legacy Company director was paid by West Ham during the contest with Tottenham.

A Sunday newspaper claimed OPLC director Dionne Knight was on the club's payroll.

However, the BBC has learned Knight was "quarantined" from the stadium ruling.

Despite Knight, the OPLC director of Corporate Services, declaring she was in a relationship with West Ham director Ian Tompkins, she was accused of failing to tell her employers that she also received around £20,000 from the club for consultancy work.

Now, following a six-week inquiry, forensic accountants from Moore Stephens have concluded there is no evidence to suggest that Knight had any influence over the OPLC's internal stadium processes or that she had access to any sensitive material or papers.

"After considering the report, the OPLC has concluded there are no grounds for re-considering their recommendation to select the consortium of West Hamand the London Borough of Newham as the preferred bidder for the legacy use of the Olympic Stadium," said the OPLC in a statement later on Monday.

The outcome of the inquiry will be a huge relief to West Ham, who were awarded preferred bidder status back in February.

They conducted their own independent inquiry into the allegations involving Knight and reached the same conclusion as the OPLC investigation.

Had the inquiry raised questions over the integrity of the OPLC processes, then the organisation would have come under pressure to look again at the decision to award the stadium to West Ham.

With Tottenham still seeking a judicial review of the decision, that is ultimately a decision for the High Court.

Despite having their first request rejected by Judge Justice Davies in June, the Premier League club are due to present evidence again at an oral hearing at the High Court on Wednesday.

If the court rules in Tottenham's favour, then that could cause serious delays for the OPLC, which is trying to negotiate a final agreement with West Ham and their partners Newham Council.