Belfast Telegraph

Stay out of court, minister tells Spurs

Hugh Robertson, the sports minister, has cautioned Tottenham Hotspur against seeking a judicial review over the future of the Olympic Stadium.



Yesterday the Olympic Park Legacy Company recommended West Ham United as the preferred bidder to take over the stadium after next year's Games ahead of Tottenham.

After a four-hour meeting the 14-strong OPLC board, chaired by Baroness Ford, unanimously chose West Ham's bid, although the Mayor of London and the government still have to ratify the final decision, a process which began yesterday and is expected to take up to a couple of weeks.

It is highly unlikely they will fail to follow the OPLC's recommendation.

Tottenham said yesterday that they were “reviewing their position” and Daniel Levy, the chairman, has previously raised the prospect of taking legal action.

“I sincerely hope not,” said Robertson, speaking minutes after the decision was announced in Westminster.

“When you have been through a process like this which has been pretty robust and pretty competitive people say things in the heat of battle.

“I hope when everybody has calmed down and had a think about this that that will not be necessary. It is a big step for any football club to take a Government to judicial review.”

Robertson and Baroness Ford, the chair of the OPLC, stressed yesterday that both bids were given equal consideration and denied there had been any outside interference in the decision — Tottenham's plan to knock down the stadium, built with £537m of public money, was widely suggested to be politically unpalatable.

Levy has suggested in recent weeks that it was not a straightforward choice between which bid best met the five criteria laid down by the OPLC.

Robertson said: “If (Levy) thinks there has been political interference he will have to bring forward evidence to support that. I can't see any political interference at all.”

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