The more I read into this Olympic Stadium debacle the more apparent the screw-job becomes. Or perhaps the screw-job only exists from a THFC perspective. Which would mean you would have to disagree with some of or most of the below when taken into a context. Unless of course THFC always new the most likely outcome would be a West Ham recommendation. But then that would mean knowing that the process was never fair from the start and still persisting with it.
Why bid? Why be invited to bid?
If the likely outcome was expected then the bid might have simply been made for leverage (in favour of the NDP) that would be birthed at the 'conclusion'...whenever that might be. The theory is, government plays into Levy's hand and 'shuts him up' by giving him what he desires. Any added bonus of suspended OPLC members and laughable statements from Brady and co would be a exactly that...a bonus.
The payment controversy might turn out to be nothing or the evidence inadmissible. Or it could do some heavyweight damage. Perhaps the prospect of such damage is damaging enough to find that amicable conclusion (i.e Levy wins by not actually winning what he set out to win). It's not exactly the type of headlines everyone involved with the Olympic Games would want to be choking over during breakfast every other morning.
Not that I was in favour of a move away from N17, but regardless of my affiliations, I've collated the various soundbites whilst reading through hefty quantities of articles/threads and discussions on the subject.
Is anyone truly surprised? What government wants, government gets.
Here's the bullety points:
- West Ham United, in debt to the tune of £100M (or so)
- Relegation on cards during process of OS bid
- £80M funds required for OS project to also retain stadium as Olympic legacy
- £40M handed to private sector business via a low interest loan from a fiscally poor Newham Council
- West Ham met the OPLC's financial criteria simply based on the loan from Newham Council
- If West Ham ever defaulted on loan, the debt would fall on the taxpayers of Newham
'Catastrophic' relegation achieved
- Championship West Ham United who could not pack out their smaller and current Premier League home will be entrusted to pack out a larger home possibly whilst still languishing in a league that isn't the top tier of English football
- The very same Championship side that have owners apparently paying out of their back pocket to sign Kevin Nolan's services for five-years, on an alleged 50k per week contract
- The very same Premier League rules relating to local territory used by West Ham to argue against Tottenham's proposed geographical shift from the North to the East were completely ignored by side-stepping the potential for Leyton Orient to suffer in terms of their fanbase catchment area*
*Tottenham have no right either, a case of 'who the f**k are Orient?' from everyone involved
- The OPLC clearly state post-decision the running track was an 'essential' element to the OS bid and hence why WH won it even though they encouraged Spurs to bid for the stadium, a bid that included no running track in the clubs plans post-Olympic games
- The OPLC clearly state post-decision that retaining the original stadium was an 'essential' element to the OS bid and hence why WH won it even though they encouraged Spurs to bid when they had made it clear they planned to demolish the original site and build a new purpose built football stadium in it's place
- Tessa Sanderson asked to step down from OPLC due to Newham Council affiliation
- Suggestions that various members of the decision committee had links with Newham Council
- THe OPLC/government never had any intentions of considering the Tottenham bid no matter the financial implications and relevance in terms of club statue and link up with AEG
- Financial secure bid and partnership (with AEG)
- Plans pencilled in for Crystal Palace guaranteeing a viable legacy that will offer only athletics all year round (although CP themselves opposed this for alternative plans of their own)
- Absolutely no ambiguity in terms of the plan for redeveloping the Olympic site
- Absolutely no 'doors closed' by OPLC during the duration of the bidding even though post-bid it has become apparent the details in Spurs plans do not match up with the post-decision clarity given for awarding it to West Ham
The decision and aftermath
- 14-0 in favour of the West Ham bid
- Levy pushes for judicial review of 'unfair process' leading to OS decision
- Judge rejects first hearing, suggests no point in pushing further
- Levy requests oral hearing, as per right to do so
- Allegations of corruption made relating to the OPLC decision and West Ham bid
- Alleged secret payments made to an employee of the OPLC
- A WHU Olympic director alleged arranged payments to be paid to the OPLC's director of Corporate Services
- Two further individuals were allegedly involved in a personal relationship
- West Ham United say payments were for consultancy work
- Vice-chair person Karren Brady fully aware of payments
- WHU Olympic director suspended
- OPLC employee suspended after all this transpired via the Sunday Times article that broke the story
- West Ham release statement, will take legal action
- Suggestion that Spurs tactics in hiring PR's to investigate corruption might be considered 'dirty' (although using dirty tactics to uncover dirty tactics should hardly be reason to turn away and dismiss out of hand)
- Mud-slinging in public in the lead up to the Olympics that the Government could do without
- The OPLC will not over-turn the decision
- The WH bid will not likely collapse regardless of relegation (which was planned as a potentiality)
- The OPLC along with the athletics community all supported the West Ham bid, preferring the idea of an iconic legacy to be used every so often rather than the Crystal Palace alternative
- Government, OPLC: only wanted a Spurs bid to aid towards guaranteeing a legacy and making sure West Ham adhered to all their blueprint
- A Spurs OS recommendation would hurt a bid for the athletics European Championships at the current OS site (rather than what Spurs suggested, Crystal Palace), a bid that needs to be submitted this summer. A bid that could possibly be effected by any continuing legal reviews pushed by Levy i.e. the next hearing
- Levy doesn't expect to get anything out of this other than the one thing he wants. Public funding for the NDP, re: RDF.
- Therefore; this is all to do with leverage
- Levy 'Machiavellian', reactively and otherwise
Obviously there is hearsay, suggestions, perspective and currently unproven allegations to consider but the stuff that's black and white and indisputable just confirms that the decision to award WH was one taken before Spurs even entered 'the race'. Politics, hey?