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Feb 10, 2011

Sullivan hits back at Sugar jibes

West Ham have accused Spurs of mounting a PR campaign to try to discredit their Olympic Stadium bid after former Tottenham chairman Lord Alan Sugar went on the attack.

Spurs stunned by Olympic 'leak'
Hammers 'win Olympic Stadium'
Brewin: Olympian ideals, money talks

With the decision due to be announced on Friday, the Spurs bid looks doomed to fail, but Lord Sugar described West Ham's bid as "exactly the same as the [Millennium] Dome all over again", as well as suggesting it is "a totally flawed decision" and would be "another waste of taxpayers' money."

Responding to the comments, West Ham co-owner David Sullivan told ESPNsoccernet on Thursday evening: "They've been going hammer and tongs with PR all day using Alan Sugar, presenting himself as a business guru and football expert, but I'm not sure if he'd ever seen a football match before he bought the controlling interest in Spurs, which he sold at a huge profit."

Lord Sugar had also said it would be a "weak and cowardly" decision if West Ham were handed the keys to the Olympic Stadium ahead of Spurs.

"You cannot combine football and an athletics stadium together," he told the BBC. "It simply doesn't work and has been proven time and time again.

"My concern will be that if it does go in that direction [to West Ham] we'll end up with another white elephant, another leftover from the Olympics that we once had in 2012 - a bit like the Dome [now the O2 Arena], which has been rescued now, funnily enough by the partners of Tottenham - the proposed partners of Tottenham for their idea for the stadium."

Sugar claimed that Tottenham would offer "taxpayers of this country and of London better value for money" and added: "The fact of the matter is that they [Tottenham] are also talking about assisting athletics by refurbishing Crystal Palace, rebuilding the Crystal Palace facility so that the athletics people can get action 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They're never going to get access like that with the proposal of West Ham's.

"How many athletic events are actually going to happen at the Olympic Stadium with West Ham there as the main resident? Has anybody even thought that through? Scheduling, rearranging the seating plan and all that type of stuff. It is not a proper venue for both football and athletics together. It is just a flawed idea.

"If they do make a decision in West Ham's direction, it will be a weak and cowardly decision."

Tottenham are considering their options on how to protest that the decision was known before the decision was supposed to be made.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is taking legal advice on whether the club can apply for a judicial review if they believed that their bid was not given fair consideration.

Tottenham said in a statement: "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."

The recommendation from OPLC executives requires the backing of the board members, and has to be ratified by two Government departments and the London Mayor's office, but appears to be a formality unless there is a legal challenge that there has been political interference.

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