Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughHearn is to apply for a judicial review over Olympic Stadium decision - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Hearn is to apply for a judicial review over Olympic Stadium decision - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Hearn is to apply for a judicial review over Olympic Stadium decision

Leyton Orient’s Chairman, Barry Hearn will press on with legal proceedings after hopes of moving to the Olympic Park site received another setback last week.

“We will shortly apply to the High Court for judicial review and take action against the Premier League for ignoring their own rules. I never make empty threats!”

“Whether or not we win the end battle for now it’s about stopping everything in its tracks, and saying, ‘Sit down and discuss the issues that you have an obligation to discuss’.”

It is thought that the Os wish to build a new 15,000-seater stadium in the Eton Manor area of the Olympic Park in response to West Ham’s successful bid to move into the 60,000-seater Olympic Stadium.

However, chairwoman of the Olympic Park Legacy Committee (OPLC), Baroness Ford, says that Leyton Orients proposal is “inconceivable”.

She does not have the casting vote on what happens to the land, she feels it could be put to better use: “It is inconceivable that you put two football stadia in the Olympic Park instead of much-needed recreational, employment and housing space.”

Hearn feels aggrieved by the Premier League for disregarding their own rules and allowing the Hammers to move into the Olympic Stadium that is 2.1miles away from Brisbane Road, whereas the Boleyn Ground is 2.4miles away from Stratford. The FA rules say that a sanction cannot be made to a club wishing to move to another site if it will have a detrimental effect to a club that is closer.

“The Premier League either has not read or do not understand their own rules.  Both they and the Legacy Committee have made no enquiry as to the effect on Leyton Orient caused by their sanction for West Ham to occupy the Olympic Stadium.  This total lack of due process means we have legal grounds to question their actions.”

The Hammers say they will give heavy discounts on tickets in order to fill up the Olympic Stadium, something else that Hearn feels aggrieved by as at the moment Upton Park averages 33,000 fans per game – just over half of the size of the Olympic Stadium.

“We believe West Ham’s proposed ticketing policy is against the competition laws of Europe and the UK under the predatory pricing rules.

“I believe that their occupancy of the Olympic Stadium and their plans to either give away or heavily discount tickets will seriously affect Leyton Orient’s chances of survival at their current level. It’s a typical battle of David vs. Goliath.”

West Ham vice-chairwoman Karren Brady has hit back, saying in her Sun weekly football diary: “This smacks of TK Maxx suing John Lewis for holding a sale.”

In some respects Ms Brady may be correct. At present a ticket to see a match at Brisbane Road sets you back £20, arguably quite pricey for a League One match in the poverty stricken area of Leyton. Loved and loathed equally by his own fans, Hearn is within his rights to protect his football club that he has put millions of his own money into, having saved them from the edge of bankruptcy in 1995.

Hearn has written letters to the Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, asking them for more time to look into the decision and not to rubber stamp it at this stage, but he has been left disappointed by their responses.

“I asked David Cameron and Boris Johnson not to sanction West Ham’s occupancy until sufficient enquiry as to the adverse effect on Leyton Orient had been undertaken. They both ignored my request.”

With an application being made to the High Court for a judicial review, the Olympic Stadium saga continues.

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