Supporters’ trusts call for West Ham Olympic Stadium deal inquiry
PUBLISHED: 13:46 21 August 2015 | UPDATED: 13:53 21 August 2015
Supporters of eight London football clubs have called for a government inquiry into West Ham’s tenancy at the Olympic Stadium.
The petition, set up by a coalition of supporters’ trusts, has received more than 17,000 signatures in just two days – enough to get a response from government. It needs 100,000 to be considered for a parliamentary debate.
The petition calls for an investigation into the deal between the club and the London Legacy Development Corporation, which owns the 54,000 capacity stadium.
The demand comes in the wake of a recent BBC documentary and the release of the tenancy agreement between the two parties.
The petition states: “West Ham has only contributed £15m towards the £272m conversion costs of the Olympic Stadium, with the taxpayer footing the rest of the bill.
“Considering the cost to the taxpayer, and the effect of this taxpayer subsidy on competition between clubs, a full public inquiry into the deal is needed.”
Arsenal, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leyton Orient, QPR1st and Tottenham Hotspur supporters’ trusts have united to back the petition.
A spokesman for the coalition said: “The fact that so many supporter groups have come together to call for this inquiry shows that the issues raised go beyond football tribalism.
“As football fans and as taxpayers, we want to see the preservation of fair competition and full transparency in public finances. This shady deal is not in the interests of the game of football and does little to promote public confidence in the way our money is being spent.”
Although West Ham will be the stadium’s anchor tenant from next summer, the venue will host a variety of sporting events.
Later this year it will host Rugby World Cup games and the Race of Champions, while top athletes competed in the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in July.
A Hammers 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 contribution alone will pay back more than the cost of building and converting the stadium over the course of our tenancy.”
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