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Home » Sport » Football

Hammers to sue over corruption allegations

West Ham are taking legal action against Tottenham Hotspur and the Sunday Times over allegations surrounding the validity of the Olympic Stadium bidding process.

The club said they were treating claims made by the newspaper today "with the utmost seriousness."

They insisted they were "certain of the robustness" of their successful bid to take over the £486 million east London stadium after the 2012 Games.

The Times alleged West Ham had paid £20,000 to Dionne Knight, the corporate director of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), before and after the club were chosen to take over the stadium.

It claimed the payments for "consultancy work" had been arranged by Hammers director Ian Tompkins, who was in a relationship with Knight.

The alleged payments were unearthed by investigators hired by Spurs, who wanted to move to the Olympic Stadium themselves and are challenging the decision to pick West Ham.

A club spokesman said: "West Ham United can confirm the club are taking legal action in relation to allegations made in today's Sunday Times.

"We are certain of the robustness of our successful bid for the Olympic Stadium."

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) confirmed that an unnamed employee had been suspended while a potential clash of interests was investigated.

They said: "It has come to our attention that an employee of the Olympic Park Legacy Company has been undertaking paid consultancy work for West Ham United FC.

"The company had no knowledge of this work and no permission was given to undertake it. This individual had no involvement whatsoever in our stadium process."

West Ham said they had paid Knight to work for them but denied that there was any wrongdoing, that the payments were secret or that the work was "connected in any way" to the stadium bid.

They said: "Dionne Knight's work for the Legacy Stadium Partnership, owned 50 per cent by London Borough of Newham and 50 per cent by West Ham United, was in relation to the procurement of a construction partner after the Olympic Games.

"A number of companies applied for the procurement contract. It was awarded to Ms Knight as she was able to provide expertise at a significantly competitive price.

"The OPLC has confirmed that Ms Knight had absolutely no involvement in the bidding process and we repeat that secret cash was not paid to her."

The club added: "We are of the firm view that the integrity of the bidding process has not been compromised."

A spokesman for the London Borough of Newham said: "Our joint bid with our partners West Ham is robust and will deliver a true community legacy."

He added: "Both West Ham and the OPLC will now conduct detailed, robust investigations and we will co-operate fully with both."


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