Reports have surfaced that the Olympic Stadium is back in play as a potential temporary venue for Tottenham Hotspur in their transitional season away from White Hart Lane. For some time it has looked as if the Olympic Stadium was eliminated from contention as an option for Spurs, but the London Legacy Development Corporation has indicated that there is still a chance that Spurs could secure it's use in the 2017-18 campaign.
"However, at Monday's appeal hearing against the decision to release the full details of West Ham's deal with stadium bosses, the LLDC revealed the East London club do not have any power of veto, leaving Spurs or Chelsea free to pursue the option of a temporary ground-share at the Olympic Stadium."
Before the Northumberland Development Project broke ground, Daniel Levy made a push to make the Olympic Stadium his own. While unpopular with supporters – mainly due to its location and the massive track that separates stand from pitch – the Olympic Stadium was an incredibly cost-effective alternative to constructing a new stadium. When the committee ruled that West Ham had the rights to the Olympic Stadium and not Tottenham, Levy proposed a single season ground-share with the Hammers, but even that concession was denied.
"No one has asked us for our permission [to ground-share] and if they did we would probably say no, depending on who it is -- if you get my drift," West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady said in 2014. "We are the anchor tenant for the winter matches and nothing else can happen in that time without our permission. Our football matches take priority over everything else."
For Hammers fans, Brady's statement made perfect sense. West Ham wouldn't want to share their home with Tottenham any more than Spurs would like to host Arsenal for a season. There is bad blood between the London rivals and it would be unacceptable for West Ham management to give an inch to Spurs. This has been the narrative, except the story arc isn't completely accurate. While West Ham will still have the upper hand in negotiation, they do not own a veto against Tottenham in the process.
Although there is no option to outright veto, West Ham must co-operate in any potential ground-share and their overriding priority principle leaves them in a strong position should such negotiations arise.
What does this mean for Spurs? Well, it certainly complicates the process some. Its not as if the ground-share at the Olympic Stadium would be free, but it would probably command a smaller fee than the FA is setting for Wembley. At £15 million, that is a Mousa Dembélé, Christian Eriksen, or Toby Alderweireld expenditure that Spurs would take on if they were to play at the national stadium.
Yet it seems pretty hard pressed to consider the Olympic Stadium as a realistic option for Tottenham. Levy has worked with these people before, to unsuccessful ends, and its not like the Olympic Stadium would be free. From a prestige and marketing standpoint, Wembley is a superior option. Further, the club could actually use this tiny opening as a bargaining chip against the FA. An increase in supply equates to a reduction in price and while this may not be the exact case with Wembley, it certainly gives Levy more maneuvering room to, you know, LEVY. An interesting development to watch.