London Mayor Boris Johnson (WFI)

(WFI) Mayor Boris Johnson urges Tottenham Hotspur to give up their fight for the 2012 Olympic Stadium and instead accept a $26.6 million package to stay put in north London.

“Tottenham Hotspur has long been an integral part of the community and by staying true to its roots the club now has the power to revolutionize an area of the capital that has been neglected for far too long,” Johnson said in a statement today.
“Last month’s riots were a telling reminder of just how important it is for Spurs to press ahead with the development at Northumberland Park and to help kick-start a much wider regeneration project that would create jobs and give Tottenham the economic boost it deserves.”
The package provides for $7.8 million to go toward vital infrastructure and public works as well as an additional $5.5 million to improve transportation in the area around the historic White Hart Lane ground and the nearby Northumberland Park site that Spurs are proposing for their new stadium. 
The local borough, meanwhile, is offering up another $13.3 million but insisted that’s the final offer.
“The club knows there is no more money available from the public purse and I sincerely hope that they accept the offer
we have made,” said Haringey Council Leader Claire Kober.
The 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium would be reduced to 60,000 post-Games under West Ham’s legacy plans (Getty)
“It is critically important that Spurs commit to Tottenham to help drive forward regeneration in this very deprived area.”

In a statement today, Spurs revealed that the club had already invested $94m in land acquisition in order to facilitate the site assembly for the new stadium scheme and a further $39m on the planning process.

Club chairman Daniel Levy said the proposed stadium scheme and wider area development had the potential to deliver hundreds of millions of pounds worth of much-needed regenerative development to Tottenham.

“But we cannot be expected to do this single-handedly. We have seen land values fall again post the recent riots and this is a further concern for the club as it considers the nature of the investment,” he said.

Levy added: “The overall scheme requires a complex package of financing of which the correct level and nature of public support is critical.

“We have held discussions with Haringey Council and the Mayor’s office regarding the funding of the public infrastructure works associated with the scheme.

“It would be wholly irresponsible of us to announce we were proceeding with the scheme without the appropriate agreements and support firmly in place. Discussions are continuing with all the relevant stakeholders and we shall, as always, keep our supporters updated.”

English Premier League rivals West Ham were selected as the Olympic Stadium’s preferred tenant back in February, a ruling Tottenham has been fighting ever since. 

A court hearing slated for Oct. 18 will decide whether to overturn the decision following the revelation that an Olympic Park Legacy Company director was on West Ham’s payroll.
Given that the Hammers pledge to retain the stadium’s running track while Spurs plan the opposite – going against London 2012’s bid pledge to the IOC – the $26.6m offer doubles as an attempt to clear the way for London’s ongoing bid for the 2017 athletics world championships.

Doha is also vying to stage the IAAF worlds in 2017. The IAAF Council will make its decision in Monaco on Nov. 11.


By
INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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