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Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Wednesday, 6 October 2010 14:40 UK

Tottenham allay fears over Olympic Stadium switch

London 2012 Olympic Stadium
As many as 30 bids could have been made for the Olympic Stadium, says AEG

Tottenham have denied the Olympic Stadium has become their preferred new home, insisting they remain committed to redeveloping White Hart Lane.

Spurs submitted interest in the Olympic Stadium last week in a joint bid with sport and entertainment company AEG.

That led to speculation Spurs' plans to build a new home had taken a back seat.

But last Thursday the club got planning permission from Haringey Council to construct a new stadium and Spurs insist those plans remain on track.

It was always thought that Tottenham's plans to build a new 56,250-seater stadium on and around the current White Hart Lane site was their preferred choice.

However, with the planning process for that still ongoing - it now requires approval from the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State - the club say they felt it prudent to explore other avenues, prompting them to meet last Thursday's deadline to officially register an interest in moving into the 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium following the 2012 Games.

If he (West Ham owner David Sullivan) is worried about Tottenham then he can only begin to have sleepless nights about the aggravation I'm going to give him if he moves on my doorstep

Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn

This was done in conjunction with AEG, the company that revived the former Millennium Dome, now the O2 Arena, with AEG Europe chief executive David Campbell insisting the bid was a serious one, adding: "We don't back losers so I don't think we will be backing a loser."

Those comments were met with raised eyebrows among Spurs supporters, while West Ham owner David Sullivan - a rival bidder to take over the Olympic Stadium - said such a move would be "a slap in the face to east London".

The club, though, have moved to quash speculation they aim to move away from Haringey in a statement reading: "We are aware that coverage of comments made by AEG yesterday have been interpreted by the media in various ways concerning the club's position in respect of the Northumberland Development Project and the Olympic Stadium site.

"We should like to make two things absolutely clear at this stage: firstly, we have registered an interest in the Olympic Stadium site in order to keep our options open going forward given the early stages we are in with the Northumberland Development Project scheme.

"This is a very preliminary stage and a pre-qualification questionnaire was completed jointly with AEG in order to meet the deadline for registration.

"Secondly, we continue to progress the application for the Northumberland Development Project with Haringey Council and will continue to do so with a view to achieving full consent.


"We have not changed our position and shall not do so without due consideration and consultation."

That will likely be met with relief among Spurs fans - as well as Sullivan, who had predicted such a move by Tottenham would prompt "real problems that could easily lead to civil unrest".

However, Sullivan himself has come under fire amid the growing row, with Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn accusing the Hammers owner of "hypocrisy".

The Hammers' plans to move to the Olympic Stadium is a stark threat to Orient, claims Hearn, who told the Evening Standard: "If [Sullivan] is worried about Tottenham then he can only begin to have sleepless nights about the aggravation I'm going to give him if he moves on my doorstep.

"This is total hypocrisy on his part. This is a case of Tescos moving next to the little sweet shop on the corner. It means a death knell for Leyton Orient, London's second-oldest club.

"We all know Tottenham are all using this to put pressure on Haringey Council to make sure they get planning permission on their redevelopment of White Hart Lane. That's a smokescreen.

"I'm upset because no-one is talking about the damage West Ham will do us because it would be terminal. It would kill the club stone dead."

The legacy company that will decide who will occupy the Stadium hopes to identify a preferred tenant by December and have a long-term lease agreement signed by next March.

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see also
Spurs submit Olympic Stadium bid
01 Oct 10 |  Tottenham
London 2012 stadium bidding ends
30 Sep 10 |  London
Bid deadline set for 2012 stadium
18 Aug 10 |  London 2012
Spurs aim for new stadium by 2012
26 Oct 09 |  Tottenham
AEG interested in Olympic Stadium
04 May 10 |  Olympics
West Ham revive Olympic stadium hopes
03 Feb 10 |  West Ham
Spurs reveal new stadium designs
01 Apr 09 |  Tottenham

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