Football

Orient Olympic move 'inconceivable'

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It is "inconceivable" that Leyton Orient will move to Eton Manor at the Olympic Park after the London 2012 Games, the chairman of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has claimed.

Despite suggestions that Leyton Orient could make its new home at Eton Manor now that West Ham look set to move into the Olympic Stadium, OPLC chairman Baroness Ford said this is unlikely to happen.

She told the London Assembly: "I actually think that it is inconceivable that you put two football stadia in the Olympic Park."

Eton Manor, in the north of the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, has already been earmarked for sport and community use after the Games.

Baroness Ford said: "I mean, this is much-needed recreational, employment and housing space for the area of east London. This is not land that is up for grabs that is not earmarked for anything else. It is very clearly earmarked in the masterplan for specific legacy purposes set out long ago."

Barry Hearn, chairman of Leyton Orient, which is the closest football team to the site of the Olympic Park, has been unhappy about plans to hand the keys to the Olympic Stadium to West Ham.

The Premier League club, in a joint venture with Newham Council, is the preferred bidder to move into the Olympic Stadium.

West Ham plan to turn the 80,000-seat stadium into a 60,000-capacity venue for sport and community use after the Games. The OPLC wants to close the deal by the end of the financial year.

Eton Manor will be transformed into a mix of sporting facilities for local and regional communities, including a tennis centre with four indoor and six outdoor courts, a hockey centre with two competition pitches and five-a-side football pitches.

The facilities - to be owned, funded and run by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority - could stage elite hockey events for up to 15,000 spectators. Eton Manor will stage the wheelchair tennis competitions during the Games.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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