Barry Hearn questions Olympic Stadium’s suitability for football
LEYTON Orient chairman Barry Hearn has questioned the Olympic Stadium’s suitability for football despite the O’s being likely to be one of the clubs bidding to become tenants at the �468 million venue.
Hearn launched a legal challenge against West Ham after they were originally chosen ahead of Tottenham to play there after the Olympics, arguing that his club - based within minutes of the new stadium - would be affected financiall should the Championship club move there.
However, having had a tour of the venue, Hearn believes the stadium, complete with running track - which will have to stay in place as part of the tenant agreement - will not be suitable for football.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company have re-opened bidding, and Orient are expected to be in the running again but Hearn said: “We’re looking at it but, I have to say, after my tour of the stadium, I become more and more convinced that this stadium is not fit for football purposes.
“Obviously we are keeping our options open because we want to see how the land is going to lie and if there’s any alternative.
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“No one is actually taking responsibility for admitting they’ve built a wrong stadium. They didn’t listen to advice five years ago when everyone was saying what type of stadium can work. Legacy is absolutely vital. This is tax-payers’ money we’re talking about - �600million of tax-payers’ money. We can’t just sweep this under the counter.
“We have to face these problems and be honest. Let’s use some common sense but most of all let’s be honest with where we’re going to go. There are some serious problems on this stadium. Otherwise it’s going to be an horrendous white elephant. We’ve seen it around the world. Let’s not let it happen to London.
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“Four years ago the OPLC announced they were going to have their tenants lined up in a matter of months - that was four years ago and we’re no closer.”