Hearn: ‘West Ham are breaking FA rules’
Or are the FA breaking FA rules?
Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn has revealed he is consulting lawyers over the decision to give West Ham the Olympic Stadium.
Hearn has written to Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson asking them to delay the confirmation of the Hammers as the future tenant of the venue after they were named preferred bidders by the Olympic Park Legacy Company board last week.
Orient could launch a judicial review as they look to prove football authorities failed to follow due process by ignoring the impact West Ham’s move to Stratford will have on the League One outfit.
The showpiece £537million Olympic Stadium is situated close to Orient’s Brisbane Road, and the club have continually voiced concerns that the arrival of fellow East Londoners the Hammers could swamp the smaller outfit.
Hearn is set to hold talks with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore to seek reassurance over the sustainability of Orient on Friday, insisting the Hammers’ relocation could spell the end of the club.
He told Sky Sports News: “We are taking legal advice as to one, whether due process has been followed, in other words, has consideration been given by the government, by the Olympic Legacy people to the future sustainability of Leyton Orient Football Club, never mind West Ham?
“The second argument is, are the Premier League themselves in breach of their own rules by sanctioning a move by a club closer to a resident football league club which would have an adverse effect on its sustainability.
“I don’t like bullies, I don’t like to feel I’m being bullied, and I think the best way is to back a bully up.”
He added: “There’s no doubt in my mind, and I think a blind man would say, that they can see West Ham moving to the Olympic Stadium will have an enormous adverse effect on Leyton Orient.
“So my question to Richard Scudamore is, what are you going to do for us? How can you help us achieve our sustainability, bearing in mind this does seem to be a pretty prima facie breach of your own rules.”
Hearn, whose club take on Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend, insists the matter is close to his own heart, and is certain West Ham’s move would not be in the best interests of the East London community.
He added: “This is something that’s very important to me, it’s important to the community of East London, it’s important to the fans of Leyton Orient Football Club.
“Whereas I expect my players against Arsenal on Sunday to give 100 per cent, I can guarantee you one thing, I will give 101 per cent in this fight.
“This club is a too important part of this community to let it just die and I don’t think we’ve been considered properly by the people in high office when they’ve been making their Olympic decisions.”