Wednesday Kickoff: West Ham given approval to start Olympic Stadium renovations; match-fixing allegations in Spain; and more

Wednesday Kickoff: West Ham given approval to start Olympic Stadium renovations; match-fixing allegations in Spain; and more

South American Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: West Ham given approval to start Olympic Stadium renovations; match-fixing allegations in Spain; and more

OlympicStadiumLondon2012 (LOCOG)

By DAN KARELL

Folks living on Green Street in east London might want to start counting down the days before West Ham leave the Boleyn Ground.

After receiving a 99 year lease on March 22, West Ham were given approval on Tuesday to begin converting the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, London to a 54,000 seat arena that will become the new home of the Irons in 2016.

The re-constructed stadium will be rated a UEFA 4-Star facility, with retractable seats, relocated concessions and restrooms, and numerous suites and club boxes. The 275 feet tall roof will also constitute the largest-spanning tensile roof in the world.

West Ham’s owners fought tooth and nail with fellow London clubs Leyton Orient and Tottenham over the future use of the showpiece at the 2012 Summer Olympics, finally winning the rights to make the move last March. The Irons have been based out of Upton Park since 1904, though the current stadium on the site has been renovated numerous times, putting the current capacity at more than 35,000.

Here are some more stories to get your day started:

MATCH-FIXING ALLEGATIONS COMING OUT OF SPAIN

Early in May, the Spanish Football Federation began to investigate a match between Deportivo La Coruña and Levante after a Levante player reportedly blamed his teammates after the game for not trying.

Now according to new reports in Spain, there are even more allegations of potential match-fixing in La Liga games. In the report, an unnamed manager told his team that when they play Levante, the match will finish in a draw, and if a goal does go in on either side, that the other team will allow the scoreline to be leveled again.

The report also quotes another unnamed manager that said he has been unsure of playing certain of his players on the fear that they are in on a fix, but struggles leaving his more talented players off the field because he doesn’t want to lose his job.

Previously, Deportivo’s owner Augusto Cesar Lendoiro said that he believed Spain is rife with match-fixing, though he denied that his club take any part in it.

PEREZ WANTS RONALDO TO BE HIGHEST EARNER IN THE WORLD

Real Madrid didn’t win the Neymar sweepstakes, but they still plan on spending a large amount of money this summer.

Club President Florentino Perez said in a radio interview that he planned on making Cristiano Ronaldo the centerpiece of Real Madrid next season and wanted to make the Portuguese international the highest paid player in the world.

Ronaldo is currently only rivaled in terms of salary and endorsement by Barcelona rival Lionel Messi and recently retired midfielder David Beckham. The 28-year-old sparked controversy last fall when saying that he didn’t celebrate scoring because he was sad, and has yet to extend his current contract which runs through 2015.

Perez also added that he believes Ronaldo, who is currently making a reported $21.9 million per season in salary, is the best player in the world. This season Ronaldo continued his lethal scoring run in the Spanish capital, scoring 34 La Liga goals in 34 matches, with one final match against Osasuna on Saturday to finish the season.

BALE WILL LISTEN TO REAL MADRID OFFER, SAYS AGENT

Gareth Bale’s agent believes that if Real Madrid were to present an offer to his client, he would strongly consider it.

The Tottenham winger won multiple Player of the Year awards this season for his play, scoring 21 goals in the Premier League and averaged more than a goal per game during a stretch in February where he was nearly unstoppable. However, the side’s fifth place finish in the standings means that Spurs will be in the Europa League again, raising the chances that Bale will leave for Champions League soccer.

Madrid have long been rumored to sign the Welsh starlet and have previously worked with the London club, signing midfielder Luka Modric this past fall for more than a $45 million transfer fee. Spurs have also offered Bale a new contract this summer to keep him at the club, raising his salary to more than $200,000 per week.

QUICK KICKS

Former Chelsea centerback Ricardo Carvalho has signed for Monaco on a free transfer. (REPORT)

Paris Saint Germain are reportedly interested in bringing in Paulo Henrique Ganso to France this summer. (REPORT)

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has stated that former manager Sir Alex Ferguson advised him against leaving Manchester United, saying that everyone in Italy is racist. (REPORT)

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been appointed manager of Belgian side Royal Antwerp. (REPORT)

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What do you make of this news? Do you see the Olympic Stadium being a good home for West Ham? Do you believe that La Liga has fixed matches? Do you see Ronaldo signing a new contract this summer?

Share your thoughts below.

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