Spurs ponder legal action over OPLC spying claims

TOTTENHAM chiefs were last night considering taking legal action after they were accused of systematic and widespread spying on all 14 of the men and women who decide the fate of the Olympic Stadium.

On an extraordinary day of developments in the long-running row over the fate of the new London 2012 arena, the chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), Baroness Ford, alleged that every single member of her board had been spied on by private investigators working for Spurs.

Later a 29-year-old man was arrested in Sussex on suspicion of fraud in connection with the claims, while police conducted further searches and seized items in Westminster, south west London and Sutton.

Tottenham – who lost out to West Ham in the initial tender for the stadium, a deal which has since been scrapped – responded by issuing a strongly-worded statement through their lawyers vehemently denying the allegations.

“The club did not undertake, instruct or engage any party to conduct surveillance on any member of the OPLC committee whatsoever and we consider the making of this baseless accusation to be wholly inappropriate and irresponsible,” it read. “We totally reject this accusation in the strongest possible terms.”

It is understood the club also plans to discuss with their legal team the possibility of taking action against Baroness Ford or the OPLC over an outburst that took them completely by surprise.

Ford earlier told the London Assembly: “My board were put under surveillance by Tottenham Hotspur and the chairman of Tottenham Hotspur felt confident enough to say in the Sunday Times several months ago that all 14 members of my board were put under surveillance.

“The Metropolitan Police are now conducting an investigation into that surveillance. There has been all kinds of behaviour here that I could not have anticipated which, believe me, has not been pleasant in the last 12 months.”

Baroness Ford’s allegations come months after West Ham said they would take legal action against Tottenham over similar claims.

Earlier this year the OPLC selected West Ham ahead of Spurs as preferred tenants to lease the stadium on a long-term basis after next summer’s Games.

But the deal was abandoned last month after an anonymous complaint was made to the European Commission over a £40m loan from Newham council to West Ham, prompting fears a looming High Court judicial review could drag on for years.

The OPLC are seeking new bids, although West Ham are clear favourites to win the race, while Tottenham have ruled themselves out after it was decreed that any tenants would be forced to retain the facility’s athletics track.

Tottenham are expected to revive efforts to build a new stadium near current home White Hart Lane.