Spurs win legal battle over 2012 stadium

London: English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday won the legal right to challenge a decision to hand the 2012 Olympic stadium to rivals West Ham United after the Games.

The Premier League club had sought a judicial review after the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) awarded West Ham preferred bidder status for the 486 million pound stadium earlier this year.

A High Court judge had turned down an earlier attempt by Tottenham to secure a judicial review, but on Wednesday they successfully applied to Mr Justice Collins for permission to mount a legal challenge, the Press Association reported.

The decision puts in doubt London`s planned bid to host the 2017 athletics World Championships because Tottenham would take out the running track as part of its development of the stadium.

The judge`s task at this stage was only to decide whether Tottenham has an "arguable" case.

A further hearing with full arguments from all sides will now have to be held.

Tottenham and West Ham United, now in English soccer`s second tier, both want to move into the venue in Stratford, east London, after next year`s Games.

Lawyers representing Spurs had argued West Ham had been given an unfair economic advantage when local Newham Council agreed to provide a 40 million pound loan to West Ham.

In those circumstances, Tottenham argued that the OPLC`s decision to opt for the joint bid by West Ham and Newham - and the government and Mayor of London`s backing for that decision - were "unlawful".

Talks had been ongoing between Spurs and the Mayor Boris Johnson and the government over separate plans for a bigger Spurs ground at a site in Northumberland Park, next to their current stadium in north London.

This month`s riots across England, which began in Tottenham, have highlighted the need for regeneration of the area.

The Northumberland Park project would include new houses and shops, as well as a new stadium, and would see public money go into improving local infrastructure such as transport links.

Spurs fans would prefer to stay in north London than move to the east of the city.

Bureau Report

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