David Gold has blamed Tottenham and Leyton Orient for the Government decision to rent rather than sell the Olympic Stadium to West Ham.
The Daily Mail reported that the Irons’ co-chairman said the Hammers were on the verge of buying the stadium until the two rival clubs complained.
His defence comes after the Hammers and the Government-run London Legacy Development Corporation have been under fire for negotiating a 99-year lease that some complain will see taxpayers footing the bill for running costs.
Speaking at the Leaders Sport Business Summit 2015 at Stamford Bridge, Gold said: “It was a difficult process as a lot of people are aware of.
“When it became available it became available for sale, the idea was with Newham Council we were going to purchase it – we won that bid.
“But because the Government wanted to guarantee the stadium for the Rugby World Cup and some athletics, because there were issues raised by other football clubs, Tottenham Hotspur and of course Barry Hearn from Leyton Orient, ministers had to renege on a sale deal and pursue a lease deal.”
Despite his initial worries the fans would not welcome the new stadium after decades with Upton Park as the home ground, Gold said he was positive about the move and hoped to bring in a new fanbase.
He said: “We’re right on the edge of [Westfield Stratford City] so we hope that’s going to increase the female fanbase.
“It’s also the quality of the experience of coming to a football match. In years gone by it was young males coming having spent a couple of hours in a local pub.
“It is very much changing, the experience we are delivering. That is changing what we are delivering particularly from my experience in the Premier League.
“Every club is looking to improve the experience for the family coming to the match, coming for other reasons.
“It is not just arriving two minutes before kick off but arriving at the stadium.”