West Ham's vice-chairman Karren Brady has revealed that the club are going to have to clear bank debts of around £70 million before they can make the Olympic Stadium their permanent home.
Half of the money owed is debt secured by the Hammers' current ground, Upton Park. All of this pre-existing debt will have to be cleared before the club can complete their move.
Speaking to the House of Lords committee today about the Olympic and Paralympic legacy, Brady stated that the club were not getting the Olympic Stadium on the cheap, and that the deal was of good-value to the taxpayers.
Brady declared that she did not believe the sale of Upton Park would go much further than the money needed to pay the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) in return for a move to the Olympic venue.
"We did have a tentative deal [for Upton Park] but that fell away. We hope the money generated from the sale of Upton Park will be enough to fulfil our commitment and to help pay off some of our bank debt," Brady explained.
"When we bought the club and took on more than £100 million of debt that was guaranteed on the ground. We have to pay off all our bank debt to move, we can’t take the debt with us.
"If there is any excess it will meet some of that debt but I don’t expect there will be," she added.
Brady's comments came as part of a response to a statement made by former sports minister Richard Caborn, who speculated that West Ham would be getting the Olympic Stadium for a mere £15 million, with £2 million-a-year rent that would be covered by taxpayers money.
The vice-chairman was quick to defend the deal and concluded that West Ham would stand to generate hundreds of millions of pounds over the 100-year lease on the £600 million stadium.
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