Filed: Friday, 4th November 2016
By: Staff Writer
The Olympic Stadium's former safety officer quit the post in the summer after expressing concerns regarding the 'temporary' lower-tier seating, it has been revealed.
A story by David Conn in today's Guardian reveals how Chris Baker quit the role before West Ham United completed their move from Upton Park to Stratford in the wake of serious concerns regarding safety at the arena - an issue that has dogged the club ever since.
Baker, who had been in the role for less than two years was joined by fellow officer Ravi Sharma, who also quit following the sell-out concert staged by AC/DC at the OS back in June.
According to Conn, Baker cited concerns regarding the temporary seating that has been installed - on the cheap - by stadium joint-owners Newham Council and the LLDC as reason for his resignation.
Baker is understood to have told colleagues that the stadium's running track and lower tier had been damaged by the installation of the temporary stands, which will take around 15 days to move to and from 'athletics mode' when required.
That means West Ham will have to play the first two games of next season away from home, a request to which the Premier League are understood to have already acceded to.
However when Baker's concerns - which also included worries regarding insufficient policing, stewarding and poor overall event management - were ignored by his employees, the stadium's owners, he tendered his resignation.
Newham Council, as well as being part owners of the venue are also responsible for issue the Olympic Stadium's safety certificate - a not entirely unique, yet questionable situation that allows the body to certify its own work.
A spokesperson told the Guardian that this "in no way impacts on [our] role in monitoring safety which we take very seriously”.
* Read Paul Walker on the OS debacle in his latest piece, 'The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth' here.
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