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Olympics: Hearn ponders ending Olympic Stadium fight

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn has said he will end a legal battle to allow rival football club West Ham United to move into London's Olympic Stadium if he fails to win a judicial review into the issue.

Orient, who play in England's third tier League One, are geographically the nearest football club to the Olympic Stadium, which is in the east London borough of Stratford, and have long been concerned about the potential impact of Premier League West Ham moving to the site from their existing ground in Upton Park.

Orient signalled their willingness to ground-share at the £429 million ($648 million) venue but Hearn, the leading British sports promoter, has become alarmed by the prospect of West Ham becoming the sole football side based at the stadium.

Hearn, also the World Snooker chairman, has asked for a judicial review of the bid process as he fears West Ham moving into the Olympic Stadium will "crush" Leyton Orient because of the 60,000-seat arena's proximity to Orient's Brisbane Road ground.

Hearn has long insisted he won't rest in his fight to stop the Hammers becoming the lone football team at the Olympic Stadium but on Wednesday he signalled there were limits to his determination to continue the argument.

"If I lose the judicial review, I have got to walk (away)," Hearn told a press conference at the Nolan Partners Sport Industry Breakfast Club in London.

"That's it. It must stop -- I can't do anything else. I have fought a really good fight. I've cost people a lot of money and spent a lot of money myself but I don't regret it because I think I am in the right."

He added: "If I stay (at Brisbane Road), I get crushed. And I am not prepared to see a club that is 130-years-old, that reaches more kids than any other in the country through the community schemes, get crushed.

"I don't know where (Leyton Orient would move to)," admitted Hearn, who said he had heard talk of taking the club east of London proper.

"Harlow has been mooted, Romford has been mooted, off the A13 down by the Docks... Barking way."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130320/olympics-hearn-ponders-ending-olympic-stadium-fight