Details of West Ham’s Olympic Stadium tenancy revealed
PUBLISHED: 17:30 06 August 2015 | UPDATED: 17:43 06 August 2015
Details of West Ham United’s agreement with the London Legacy Development Corporation have been revealed.
The partially redacted document, seen by the Recorder and released following a Freedom of Information request by the BBC, outlines a number of “facilities and services” to be paid for by the grantor, which is the LLDC.
But as the corporation is a public authority, funded by government grants and contracts, the deal ultimately means taxpayers will be paying for the Hammers’ pitch markings, heating and even the goalposts.
An LLDC spokesperson said: “The difference is West Ham are a tenant and they will expect certain things.
“There are a number of weekends in the football season where the league is suspended to hold international matches and we’re confident we could stage some of them if we have the equipment.”
Other items that the LLDC must provide “at its own cost” include power and heating in the stadium, security and cleaning staff and LED signage and scoreboards.
But he explained that the cost of paying out for the items is offset by the rent the club and other tenants will pay.
“West Ham are paying a massive sum of money and have a lease for 100 years, and are a tenant through the winter months,” he said.
“We think this is a very good deal for the club and the taxpayer.”
In moving from Upton Park to the Olympic Park, the circumstances around West Ham’s relationship with its stadium will change.
The Boleyn Ground, now sold to developers Galliard, was owned by the club, meaning it had to fund its own facilities and equipment as the sole user.
But the Olympic Stadium will be shared with a number of other users throughout the year, with rugby, motor sport and athletics events all currently on the calender before the Hammers move in - all of which will require the same security and facilities.
A club spokesman said: “It should be remembered that during a fair, open and robust process that was open to any party or organisation in the world, West Ham United were chosen as the group that delivered the best long-term, viable future for the Stadium and the best return for the taxpayer.
“Our presence underwrites the multi-use legacy of the Stadium and our contribution alone will pay back more than the cost of building and converting the stadium over the course of our tenancy.”
He added that the worldwide draw of hosting Premiership matches in an iconic venue would “add value to any sponsorship and commercial agreements related to the Stadium, which the public purse stands to further benefit from.”
According to the spokesman, Hammers chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold have no intention to sell and want to keep the club within their families.
He said: “To demonstrate their commitment to the club and its long-term future, they were also happy to include a clause that would return a substantial sum of money to the taxpayer should they sell the club following our move to Stratford.”
West Ham’s move next summer is set to create around 700 jobs and, according to the LLDC spokesman, will provide a boost to Stratford’s economy with fans spending money in shops, restaurants and bars in the area.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.