LONDON – The High Court in London has given Premier League club Tottenham the right to seek a judicial review of the decision to award the Olympic Stadium to West Ham after the 2012 Games.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company selected West Ham over Spurs as the preferred tenant of the $800-million venue in east London. Tottenham is challenging the decision by West Ham's local authority to provide a $65-million loan to fund the move.
The dispute could jeopardize London's bid to host the 2017 track and field world championships at the venue, with the IAAF set to chose on Nov. 11 between the British capital, Barcelona and Doha, Qatar.
London's High Court ruled at an initial hearing Wednesday that Tottenham has an "arguable" case to challenge the loan at a full hearing later in the year.
Tottenham's attorney, Dinah Rose, said Newham Counil's loan had given West Ham an unfair economic advantage and amounted to unfair "state aid."
Rose added that the club's accounts showed "that it had short and long-term debts of $170 million, most of which were due in the next three years."
West Ham's bid to downsize the stadium from 80,000 to 60,000 seats won in part because it fulfills Olympic organizers' promise to retain the running track after the Olympics.
Tottenham had wanted to rebuild the stadium and remove the athletics facilities as part of a joint bid with American sports and entertainment giant AEG. But the north London club also resurrected plans to build a new stadium next to its current White Hart Lane base by applying for public funding.