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New twist in Tottenham Hotspur OIympic Stadium saga as Leyton Orient apply to rent venue
LEYTON Orient have applied for permission to move into the Olympic Stadium after the deal to hand it to West Ham fell through.
Last week the Olympic Park Legacy Committee decided that the 60,000-seater venue should remain in public ownership after Spurs and Orient launched legal challenges to March's decision to give the stadium to West Ham after London 2012.
Tottenham were due in the High Court today as part of their bid to win a judicial review over the decision, but dropped the action late last night in reaction to last week's U-turn.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson believes it is “almost certain” that West Ham will now rent the stadium in a £2m-a-year deal, but Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn believes this is against Football League rules and is concerned at the impact of the Hammers moving so close to their east London home.
He said: “We are asking for a 25,000-seat stadium and we want to see if we can get around the athletics track. It has to stay, we know that. But can we build up, if not down, and see if it's possible to get it covered while we play?
“We have submitted an application for permission to move to the Football League, and that permission is something that West Ham don't yet have.
“It was the Premier League who gave them the green light to move in their original plan, but they are no longer members of the Premier League.
“The rules are that the Football League would not sanction a club moving closer to another club if it affects the business of that other club, and there's no doubt that West Ham moving there would affect us.”
Mr Hearn wants West Ham thrown out of the bidding process, while it remains unclear whether Spurs will bid to rent the stadium.
The club are currently stalling on a deal to build a new 56,000-seater stadium in Haringey, that would see the Mayor of London and Haringey Council give £17m to help implement the scheme.