London Stadium problems to be laid bare in new report

CHARLES SALE -THE SPORTS AGENDA: The difficulties facing the London Stadium and the decisions that have caused its problems are shortly going to be laid bare.

The difficulties facing the financially-stricken London Stadium and the decisions that have caused its problems are shortly going to be laid bare. The London Assembly have issued a summons notice for the annual accounts of stadium landlords E20, saying not enough information was forthcoming.

It's expected that the E20 figures will reveal massive debts that will greatly impact on the current value of the £753million stadium that earned iconic status during the 2012 Olympics and now houses West Ham United.

Also due to be published soon is the report — commissioned by London mayor Sadiq Khan — by forensic accountants Moore Stephens into the reasons for the rise in the cost of converting the stadium from athletics to football. In 2016 the cost rose by £51m, from £272m to £323m.

The London Stadium is set to be thrown back into a political spotlight after a summons notice 

The London Stadium is set to be thrown back into a political spotlight after a summons notice 

Moore Stephens are expected to highlight other causes, apart from the price of retractable seating. 

These might go back to the original flawed blueprint of moving from a London 2012 venue to a 20,000-seater dedicated athletics centre with no planning for a football tenant, plus former London mayor Boris Johnson's vanity project of agreeing to host five 2015 Rugby World Cup games in the Stratford stadium.

This unnecessary complication added significantly to the costs of making the stadium fit for Premier League football, which should have been the objective from day one.

The cost of converting the stadium to a football venue rose £51m, from £272m to £323m

The cost of converting the stadium to a football venue rose £51m, from £272m to £323m

 

ITV racing irritant Matt Chapman has made no secret of his great upset at not being on the broadcaster of the year shortlist at the Horserace Writers awards lunch a week on Monday. 

To compound his misery, three of his ITV colleagues are in the frame: Ed Chamberlin, Oli Bell and Luke Harvey, who is Chapman's nemesis. 

The fourth contender is Racing UK's spiky Lydia Hislop, who has snubbed the occasion for around a decade since a previous chairman Geoff Lester made disparaging remarks about her.

Reporter Matt Chapman (right) is upset at not being on the broadcaster of the year shortlist

Reporter Matt Chapman (right) is upset at not being on the broadcaster of the year shortlist

 

Quins break new ground

Premiership club Harlequins have announced ambitious plans to build a new 25,000-seat stadium at their Stoop ground next door to Twickenham. 

The club will be engaging with the neighbourhood to create a venue designed by sports stadium architects Populous that is intended to make Harlequins the centre of the community.

The five-year project will mean Quins having to move out of the Stoop for a number of seasons, ideally to Twickenham, which had been the club's base before they bought the Stoop in 1963. No formal discussions have taken place yet with the RFU.

Harlequins have announced ambitious plans to build a new stadium 25,000-seater stadium

Harlequins have announced ambitious plans to build a new stadium 25,000-seater stadium

 

The appointment of two female directors to the FA board has not been straightforward. Rupinder Bains, the lawyer jointly selected by the Premier and Football Leagues, brought up during the recruitment process that her conduct had been reported to the Solicitors' Regulatory Authority during a legal dispute involving the Sherlock Holmes Museum. 

But no action had been taken against her and she is attempting to have the allegation removed from Google. Kate Tinsley, FA independent director, is chief executive of the Buildbase Group who sponsor the FA Trophy and FA Vase, bringing conflicts that will mean she has to leave some board meetings.

 

The lavish amount of black dye that BT cricket pundit Ricky Ponting has lathered on his hair was as conspicuous on the first day of the Ashes as it was at the start of the 2015 series in Cardiff.

And the knockabout cricket game in the BT studio between football pundits Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Gary Lineker has created so much digital attention it is now being used to promote the Ashes coverage. 

Although you wouldn't necessarily think it from the clip, Lineker was a good enough batsman to make a century for Lord's-based team Cross Arrows on the Nursery Ground.

Ricky Ponting arrived with conspicuous hair on his first day on BT Sport's Ashes coverage

Ricky Ponting arrived with conspicuous hair on his first day on BT Sport's Ashes coverage