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Feb 10, 2011

Spurs stunned by Olympic 'leak'

Tottenham Hotspur are shocked that the decision on who will take over the Olympic Stadium next year has reportedly been leaked, and they are already considering their options for a possible appeal.

• Brewin: Olympian ideals, money talks
• Hammers 'win Olympic Stadium'
• Sullivan slams Levy

The decision is not due to be officially announced by the Olympic Park Legacy Committee (OPLC) until Friday, but it has been widely reported that West Ham United have been chosen to move into the stadium in Stratford.

ESPNsoccernet understands that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has called an emergency board meeting for Thursday to go through the club's options for a possible protest, not to mention where the club goes now in their search for a new home. Levy stated earlier this week that plans to redevelop the area around White Hart Lane were dead in the water, but that could change.

A Spurs insider would not be drawn on the speculation, simply saying: "The OPLC haven't made a decision yet, they meet on Friday. The board has not yet met."

And an official club statement released later on Thursday read: "Whilst we are concerned to read that there appears to have been a leak of information from the OPLC about what their recommendation and decision may be, we regard it as premature to make any comment at this stage."

ESPNsoccernet sources inside the Lane tell us that the club will wait until the decision is officially announced on Friday before making their move, if indeed they opt to contest it.

One of the options at their disposal is to mount a judicial review claiming political interference. But in reality they would be fighting a losing cause if the will is to hand it to the local club, which, quite naturally, was the most likely outcome all along.

The decision to give the ground to the Hammers still needs to be approved by the Olympic Committee and Lord Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

In what was a two-horse race, despite the late intervention of Barry Hearn for local League One club Leyton Orient, Spurs entered the bidding at a late stage which infuriated West Ham - who felt they were always the logical choice as a club actually based in the borough of Newham, where the Olympic Stadium is being built.

A section of Spurs fans have organised a widely-backed protest against moving away from White Hart Lane to a site outside of their own traditional area. But Spurs and backers AEG are likely to feel aggrieved at the time and cost of mounting a bid.

West Ham had crucial local authority backing for their bid, which Spurs could not achieve, and this has tipped the scales in favour of the East London club.

The Hammers will spend close to £95 million on converting the Olympic Stadium, and have already agreed a £40 million funding deal with Newham council.

ESPNsoccernet has been informed that the Hammers have also agreed to open up the Olympic Stadium to the local community in return for the substantial grant.

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