West Ham refuse to retract claim public is being 'misled' over London Stadium finances

West Ham's London Stadium
West Ham relocated to London Stadium in 2016

West Ham have refused to retract claims that the public is being "misled" by London Stadium's owners over the venue's financial struggles.

London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) said it was running at a loss because of "low rents" paid by the Hammers, a claim the club dispute.

LLDC asked for a retraction of the club's claim it had misled the public.

In response, West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady says the owners "have not managed costs competently".

In a letter, to London Assembly chairman Tony Arbour, seen by the BBC, Brady said: "We are staggered that the operating costs at the London Stadium exceed revenue."

Brady says LLDC chief executive Lyn Garner "omitted a number of key facts" at a London Assembly meeting last Friday.

Garner had said: "The elephant in the room is that the fee [West Ham] pay us for usage costs does not cover the event-day costs."

The Premier League club responded by saying it was "concerned" that "the public and, more importantly, taxpayers" were being "deliberately misled" over the long-running financial struggles of a stadium that was built for the London Olympics in 2012.

The Hammers say they contribute a total of £10m a year in revenue, including rent.

A letter sent by LLDC chairman Sir Peter Hendy on Monday in response to West Ham's statement read: "This is an extremely serious and damaging statement to make against public officials appearing before elected assembly members and we will be asking West Ham to retract the claim."

The letter adds: "Their claim that we enjoy £10m from our association with West Ham is simply wrong and the money we generate from West Ham does not cover the cost of putting on the match days."

In her letter, the latest response from the club, Brady says: "In our view, the actual elephant in the room is the E20's [LLDC's] failure to manage the operating costs competently.

"I would like to make clear to you that at no time did West Ham state that LLDC officials had lied. We said the statement Ms Garner had made was misleading the public because it did not present all the facts. We stand by that statement."

Home of the 2012 Olympics has become a battleground - analysis

Simon Stone, BBC Sport football reporter

Karren Brady's letter is the latest in a tit-for-tat exchange between West Ham and their landlords.

As has been apparent for some considerable time, London Stadium needs to generate more revenue if it is not going to end up landing the taxpayer with a very large bill.

West Ham have what they believe to be a watertight lease that runs for 99 years. The London Legacy Development Corporation currently receives £3m annually from the club but feels there are areas that would allow them to make a bit more.

So, arguments are taking place over the colouring of the carpet behind both goals, which badly needs replacing. West Ham are prepared to pay the one-off £380,000 cost, if they can change the colour to claret. LLDC wants an annual fee and to have it left a neutral green because claret might put off potential stadium naming rights sponsors - even though it hasn't found any yet and none is in the pipeline.

West Ham argue they are providing £10m in revenue, £6m of which comes through catering facilities used by their fans. But that figure doesn't take into account the costs involved in creating the catering itself, so the actual figure is less, although the Hammers privately feel the LLDC should be ending up with far more than the £30,000 per game they say is made from catering.

With the London Mayor's office also involved, the home of the 2012 Olympics has become a battleground.

As Brady correctly points out, the deal for West Ham to play at London Stadium was done to prevent it turning into a white elephant.

Yet, for all the magnificent athletics, rugby, baseball and pop concerts that take place there, without a positive relationship with its core tenant, one of Britain's most iconic sporting venues will never fulfil its legacy.

Top Stories