The Hammers yesterday mounted a vigorous defence of their successful bid for the Stratford venue after it emerged that a director of the OPLC, the public body that voted for their proposal ahead of Tottenham’s, also did paid consultancy work for the Upton Park outfit. A Sunday newspaper alleged that the payments were uncovered by a private investigator who was hired by Tottenham, who have not given up hope of the OPLC’s decision being overturned.
That has prompted West Ham to take action against Spurs, who they accuse of obtaining private information illegally, and the newspaper.
“We are certain of the robustness of our successful bid for the Olympic Stadium,” West Ham said in a statement. “The only wrongdoing here is by those who have broken the law and obtained private information.”
The club added: “The suggestion of ‘secret cash’ in the article is absolutely and categorically denied. As such, legal action is being taken against the Sunday Times, as well as Tottenham Hotspur.”
Tottenham last night declined to comment on allegations made by the newspaper or West Ham.
The storm is likely to increase pressure on the government to re-open the debate about who should occupy the stadium after the London 2012 Games.
The OPLC director, Dionne Knight, whose partner works for West Ham, has been suspended on full pay.