Following statements made by the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) claiming that they have received a letter from Tottenham that is a pre-cursor to judicial review proceedings (and then pre-empting any Tottenham actions by going on and on about the ‘fairness’ of the process – in other words, playing the media), Tottenham Hotspur have issued an official statement clarifying the situation:
At this stage the Club has not issued any proceedings against the Olympic Park Legacy Company (the OPLC) or any other party in respect of the decision regarding the award of the Olympic Stadium.
The Club’s lawyers have written letters to the OPLC, the Mayor of London, the Minister of Sport and the Secretary of State for Local Government and a separate letter to the London Borough of Newham raising a number of concerns with the processes which led to the award.
The letters also requested – in the interests of transparency – for the provision of certain information concerning the processes, which the Club considers that it is entitled to. Tottenham Hotspur will determine its next step as and when it receives a response to these letters.
Contrast this with quotes from OPLC’s spokesperson earlier today:
“We can confirm that a letter before action in relation to potential judicial review proceedings has been issued. The Olympic Park Legacy Company ran a very rigorous and transparent process in its selection of the recommended preferred bidder. We have been supported by independent experts in their field in terms of legal, financial, commercial and technical advice.
We have been consistent, fair, objective and entirely equal in our dealings with the bidders from start to finish. We are confident that if these judicial review proceedings are pursued, our approach will be entirely vindicated by the courts.”
The UK government and the office of the mayor of London are joint owners of the OPLC, were both contacted by Tottenham and have four weeks to respond to the letter in writing. Once Tottenham have received the answers (or after four weeks have passed), they must then decide whether to go ahead with the judicial review process by serving papers to the High Court.
Judicial reviews allow bodies to challenge decisions on grounds of illegality, irrationality and unfairness.
To be fair, Tottenham have only requested information on what criteria was used to arrive at the decision that West Ham’s bid was superior to Tottenham’s. It may be that OPLC chose West Ham because of the public reaction to Tottenham’s bid, or it may be that they genuinely believed it was a superior bid. Tottenham seem to believe the former, but it’s obvious from OPLC’s initial statement on the matter (and how they’ve pushed the story public) that OPLC will strongly defend themselves from any suggestions of unfairness / irrationality, and given that Tottenham’s bid was a lost cause in the press (regardless of the proposal being a stronger one to West Ham’s), you wouldn’t bet on Tottenham getting a leg up on the OPLC in this situation.
And you can expect Karen Brady and West Ham to have another pop at Tottenham for what seems to be a reasonable request to understand what criteria was used by the OPLC.