London

West Ham Olympic Stadium deal 'must be made public'

Artist's impression of West Ham at the Olympic Stadium Image copyright West Ham
Image caption West Ham intends to play at the Olympic Stadium for the 2016-17 season

The managers of the Olympic Stadium have been told to make public the details of a rental deal with West Ham.

Football supporters submitted a Freedom of Information request to obtain the tenancy agreement amid claims the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) would subsidise the rent.

An Information Commissioner has said LLDC, which denied the claims, must now comply with the FOI request.

LLDC had refused to reveal its rent on grounds of commercial sensitivity.

The decision comes ahead of West Ham moving into the stadium for the start of the 2016-2017 football season.

In reaching a decision dated 3 September, the commissioner said neither West Ham nor LLDC had been able to show how revealing the details of the tenancy agreement would place them at a commercial disadvantage or how this information could be exploited by a competitor.

The stadium was built using tax payers' money and is currently in public ownership.

LLDC manages the stadium and is believed to be considering whether to appeal against the independent commissioner's decision.

A coalition of 14 supporters' trusts from around the country called on LLDC head, London Mayor Boris Johnson, to waive its right to appeal.

They said an appeal would further delay the publication of the tenancy agreement, which they argue is in the public interest.

In a statement, the trusts said the deal raised issues over the apparent use of public money to "subsidise a commercial football business".

"It seems the taxpayer will be paying the cost of a series of overheads which every other club, rightly, has to pay for themselves," they said.

"It is important that the taxpayer is allowed to know exactly what has gone on here, and to judge whether it is a responsible and fair use of public money."

The supporters' trusts had argued the Olympic Stadium deal could give the Hammers a competitive advantage and asked the government to investigate in August, but the government said the deal had been "scrutinised" and rejected their request.

Previously a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "West Ham United has a concession at the stadium and their contributions reflect that status.

"The contract, awarded after an open public competition, has been widely scrutinised and tested in court. The stadium remains in public ownership and the profits from its multiple uses will flow to the taxpayer."

The Olympic Stadium deal allows West Ham to host all of their home matches at the stadium. British Athletics will take control of the arena for one month every summer.

LLDC has until 8 October to reveal the commercial details of the Olympic Stadium tenancy agreement.


West Ham deal - quick facts

  • West Ham has contributed £15m to the £272m conversion of the stadium, the LLDC has confirmed
  • LLDC has said it would pay for "facilities and services" such as pitch maintenance and for stewarding on match days, which can cost £2.5m annually
  • The amount of rent that West Ham United FC will pay to use the stadium is not publicly known yet
  • The football supporters coalition believes West Ham will pay up to £2.5m a year in rent, potentially giving the Hammers a competitive advantage, but LLDC has refused to confirm the rental cost
  • The independent Information Commissioner has now ruled LLDC must reveal the rental details or it could face legal action
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Olympic Stadium will host other sporting and entertainment events

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