Olympic Stadium: New details on West Ham deal revealed

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Olympic Stadium
West Ham are due to move into their new home at the end of the 2015-16 season

West Ham will not have to pay for a range of staff including cleaners and turnstile operators when they move into the Olympic Stadium next year.

Heating and lighting costs will also be covered by the stadium managers, the London Legacy Development Corporation.

The LLDC denies the sums are being funded by the taxpayer, saying use of the stadium - including rental fees - will generate additional revenue.

Ex-Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn wants the whole deal to be made public.

"There shouldn't be any secrets on this - it's taxpayers' money - and we have every right to know the full deal," he told BBC Sport.

A decision on the LLDC's appeal against a ruling to release full details of the deal is unlikely to be made for several months.

It has released a copy of the 207-page document with less redacted sections than previously, but the amount of rent West Ham will be paying annually has not been revealed as this is considered to be commercially sensitive information.

West Ham's vice-chairman Karren Brady says she fought for the best deal,external-link but denies this was at the expense of taxpayers.

The agreement indicates that the Hammers will have to make extra payments if they finish in the top 10 of the Premier League; and if they qualify for Europe.

Cost of transforming the stadium
Of the £272m total transformation costs, £15m is being provided by West Ham, with £1m coming from UK Athletics. The stadium will have an initial 54,000 capacity and stage other events including rugby union matches and motorsport.Work has included installing a new 45,000 square metre cantilever roof, twice the size of the original, covering all the seats - it will be the largest of its kind in the world.
The local borough of Newham is contributing £40m, and national government £25m, with the remainder coming from a variety of sources, including Olympic Park land sales.Retractable seating for 21,000 spectators is being fitted to allow the athletics track to be used in the summer, and the venue will host the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

What will be provided for West Ham?

In August, the BBC revealed a large number of "facilities and services" would be paid for by the grantor - the publicly-funded LLDC - and not the club.

These included the cost of stadium utilities, maintaining the pitch, and the goalposts and corner flags.

Below is a list of other items, outlined in the agreement made public on Thursday, which the Hammers will not have to fund:

  • Undersoil heating and floodlighting
  • Ticket office and turnstiles
  • Drug testing and medical facilities
  • Concession areas cleared of snow and ice as required
  • Team changing rooms, plus changing rooms for ball persons and officials
  • Security, cleaning, pest control
  • Stadium tannoy, generator, CCTV surveillance system and monitors
  • LED pitch-side signage, scoreboards and jumbo video screens at each end of the pitch

Read: The Olympic Stadium agreement.external-link

What are West Ham paying for?

The Hammers are paying £15m towards the transformation costs of the stadium, and reportedly £2m to £2.5m rent annually as part of a 99-year lease.

West Ham will also have to fork out a different amount each year based on which division the club is playing in, with the cost rising for every position they finish 10th or above in the Premier League.

Additional fees will be charged if they win the FA Cup, qualify for the Europa League or Champions League, and should they triumph in those tournaments.

A section from the Olympic Stadium agreement published on Thursday

What do the main players say?

West Ham - Vice-chairman Karren Brady: "It has been reported that we got a good deal but it is worth remembering that West Ham went through three arduous, fair, competitive and thoroughly robust bidding processes. And the fact is we came out unanimously and convincingly on top each and every time.

"Without us, all of the colour, vibrancy, revenue and, crucially, jobs we've seen return to east London this summer would not be there, as our 99-year tenancy was essential in underwriting the stadium's other uses.

"During the negotiations, did I do the best deal I could for West Ham United? Of course I did, that's my job, but not at the expense of the taxpayer. I think what is very clear to anyone reading the agreement for the first time, is just how determined I was to protect the rights of West Ham United and our fans during the negotiations, while also ensuring it was fair to the taxpayer."

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady
Karren Brady was part of the West Ham team that negotiated the stadium deal

Barry Hearn - Former Leyton Orient chairman who lost a legal battle for the club to groundshare with West Ham: "I'm absolutely sure, eventually, that they will be told to release all the details because it should be in the public domain.

"The argument that it's commercially sensitive treats the taxpayer like they are children. West Ham are an anchor tenant - they have a long-term deal which is not going to be replicated by anybody else.

"There's some very big holes - we haven't had the rent confirmed - so we can't say whether this is a good deal or a bad deal. If the policing, for example, is included in the rental agreement, that could come to a very sizeable amount of money. We don't know the share of catering income or naming rights.

"We are being drip-fed the occasional titbit without knowing the overall package."

The LLDC: "Once the transformation of the stadium is complete it will not require continuous subsidy from the taxpayer and will see a return to the taxpayer through future profits due to the agreements in place with the operator Vinci and concessionaires West Ham United and UK Athletics.

"The stadium will contribute to the ongoing and hugely successful regeneration programme already being delivered at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park."

Finer details of the deal
Two stands will be branded - one as the Bobby Moore Stand and another as the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand.West Ham must offer up to 100,000 general admission tickets each season to residents of the borough of Newham
The process has begun to find a new stadium sponsor, who would hold naming rights. Seating in the front row of the lower tier must be between 10 metres and 20 metres from the edge of the playing surface.

Will full details of the deal be released?

While the LLDC says it has provided "substantial" additional details and it is "committed to maximum transparency", much remains out of the public domain.

In the first 100 pages of the agreement, half of the pages contain sections which have been blacked out - with large passages covering stadium naming rights, and policing, redacted.

The Information Commissioner, an independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, ruled the whole deal should be made public after football supporters submitted a Freedom of Information request to obtain the tenancy agreement.

But the LLDC has appealed against that decision and a tribunal - likely to consist of three court judges - will hear the case, although this is not expected to take place for another four to six months.