Leyton Orient stirs the Olympic Stadium debate

Leyton Orient's ground, Brisbane Rd

The future of the Olympic Stadium is in doubt again. Leyton Orient Chairman, Barry Hearn, launched a last-ditch campaign on Wednesday to prevent Premier League West Ham United from taking over the Olympic Stadium as their new home from August 2014.

The O’s claim that the move contravenes Premier League rules, which state that no club may relocate to a ground that will ‘adversely affect’ another professional team based in the same area.

Hearn, a boxing promoter, has signaled his willingness to take on the fight, and launching his challenge, he  said: “We hear so much about the 2012 legacy but the danger of legacy is that it may involve the destruction of a community football club that has served its community for 130 years.”

A meeting has been arranged this Friday between Mr Hearn and the Premier League boss, Richard Scudamore, to discuss the League’s interpretation of the rules. The Club has also written to Prime Minister, David Cameron and London Mayor, Boris Johnson, to state their case.

Hearn’s arguments are based on the proximity of the O’s Brisbane Road ground to the Olympic Stadium, combined with the Hammers’ planned capacity of 60,000 seats which dwarves Orient’s crowds, currently averaging between 3,000 to 6,000. West Ham have also proposed aggressive marketing plans to offer low-cost tickets and attract new fans to the club.

West Ham United’s planned move to the Olympic Stadium was given the unanimous support of the Olympic Park Legacy Company and Newham Council last week. Greeting the decision, West Ham’s Chairman, David Sullivan, stated: ”This is very, very good for east London and for the community and the legacy. I really believe our bid was the best bid and the best bid has won.”

In the event that there would be any change in decision making, then Crystal Palace would also be forced to reconsider their proposal of a new stadium.

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