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Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Leyton Orient want 2012 Olympic Stadium decision delayed


Orient future threatened - Hearn

Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn has written to Prime Minister David Cameron asking him to look into the decision to award the Olympic Stadium to West Ham.

The Hammers were named preferred bidders but Orient, the club closest to the site, believe their existence would be threatened by their arrival.

Hearn said he asked Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson "not to rubber-stamp West Ham's move at this stage".

"Give us the respect, the decency and the right to put our case forward."

Hearn said he is also consulting lawyers about possibly launching a judicial review.

That could significantly delay the process of confirming West Ham's tenancy at the venue in Stratford, east London.

Hearn has outlined his concerns to Cameron and Johnson as well as Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, and Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics.

"How on earth has nobody even considered us and how on earth has the government or Premier League, or anybody else, not even had the respect to discuss it with us?" said Hearn.

"It's a question of due process and whether the Olympic Park Legacy Committee, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and even the Prime Minister have given consideration to Leyton Orient in these discussions.

Olympic Stadium fall-out

"The government has a responsibility to take into account all the effects of any ruling they take.

"We are awaiting what I assume is a rubber-stamp decision from Boris Johnson and the DCMS to award West Ham the stadium.

"But I find it incredible they would even consider making the decision before undergoing due process in regard to the effect on the incumbent football club."

Hearn's major concern is with the suggestions from West Ham that they would offer free and heavily discounted tickets upon their arrival in the new ground.

Their average Premier League attendance this season is about 33,500, with the Olympic Stadium likely to hold around 60,000.

Hearn fears the incentives on offer to locals to fill the ground could force his club, based within a mile of the Olympic site, to the wall.

Leyton Orient's stadium
Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road ground is about two miles from Stratford

"The comments last week about the number of complimentary tickets available and family tickets for the price of a single ticket have grave implications for our club," he added.

"Leyton Orient has been in existence for 130 years and by any stretch of the imagination we are the incumbent club.

"To have a giant like West Ham on our doorstep offering discounted and free tickets would seriously bring into question the survival of Leyton Orient.

"We have asked our lawyers about the benefits or otherwise of a full judicial review where we will be challenging the right of the government to make that decision.

"I have written to David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Hugh Robertson and Jeremy Hunt asking them not to rubber-stamp West Ham's move at this stage and at least give us the respect, the decency and the right to put our case forward about the continuation of our football club."

Leyton Orient's current home, the Matchroom Stadium, is 2.1 miles from Stratford, according to the AA's route planner.

It seats 9,271 spectators but currently averages less than 5,000 and has only exceeded that figure three times this season.

West Ham's home at the Boleyn Ground is 2.4 miles away, and 4.2 miles from Orient.

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see also
Olympic verdict delights West Ham
11 Feb 11 |  London 2012
Athletics chief delighted by decision
11 Feb 11 |  London 2012
West Ham 2012 stadium bid chosen
11 Feb 11 |  London
Hammers success gives Palace hope
11 Feb 11 |  Crystal Palace
Where now for Spurs?
11 Feb 11 |  Tottenham

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