I will walk away from Olympic Stadium fight if I lose judicial review, promises Leyton Orient chairman
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
March 20 - Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn has revealed he will stop his pursuit of a ground share with West Ham United in the Olympic Stadium and move the club elsewhere should he lose a judicial review into the bidding process.
The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has named the Premier League club as the preferred bidder to move into the venue, claiming the process had been "robust, fair and transparent", and are now on the verge of agreeing a deal for the £429 million ($691 million/€528 million) venue with the Premier League club.
Hearn has still called for a judicial review over the process, suggesting that the idea of a ground share between his League One side and West Ham was not properly considered.
But the 64-year-old insists he will not take the case any further if he loses the judicial review, and instead look to find a new home for Orient away from their 9,000 capacity Brisbane Road so that the club is not "crushed" by the move of West Ham to Stratford.
"If I lose the judicial review, I have got to walk," Hearn said.
"That's it, it must stop.
"I can't do anything else.
"I have fought a really good fight.
"I've cost people a lot of money and spent a lot of money myself but I don't regret it because I think I am in the right.
"But I think I am going to get beaten in the end and that's the sadness.
"What would have cured all of it if they had just said, the same as they do in Europe, alternate Saturdays you can go in there and therefore there is no objection from me.
"They have completely ignored that and they will put us out of business but there is only so far I can fight.
"The LLDC wrote to me and said we don't think you have a case, which is what you expect.
"I've been to two QC's – a good one and a horrible one – and they've both said we can't lose.
"It's fundamentally flawed and they [the LLDC] have made a massive mistake.
"Unfortunately for them the bidding process specified that they must accept a discussion on teaming
"They haven't accepted it.
"But we will have to move for survival [if West Ham get sole occupancy of the Olympic Stadium].
"If I stay, I get crushed."
Hearn has not stated exactly where he would look to move the club but mentioned another East London destination or nearby Essex as potential new homes.
"I am not prepared to see a club that is 130 years old, that reaches more kids than another other in the country through the community schemes, get crushed" Hearn said.
"I don't know where [Orient would move to].
"Harlow has been mooted, Romford has been mooted, off the A13 down by the Docks, Barking way."
"The trouble is, how do you finance it?"
March 2013: Hearn to mount new legal challenge against Olympic Stadium future
March 2013: Olympic Stadium deal to be completed this month says West Ham co-owner
February 2013: Deal for West Ham to move to Olympic Stadium close, claims London Mayor
February 2013: London 2012 Olympic Stadium announcement close, claims West Ham vice-chairman
December 2012: West Ham bid to take over Olympic Stadium given greenlight by Legacy Company but safety net put in place