West Ham’s deal to take over the Olympic Stadium has finally been made public after a long legal dispute.
The Hammers have been caught in the eye of a storm amidst a furious dispute over the taxpayer’s contribution to their new home.
Now it can be revealed that they will pay just £2.5million a year in rent, which will be halved to £1.25million if they are relegated from the top flight.
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The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLFC) had fought against the release of the information, probably because they were well aware of the controversy it would cause.
West Ham move into the 60,000-seater venue this summer.
A burden on the taxpayer?
But now, they will have to reveal which costs the club are meeting on match days, and which bills will be footed by taxpayers.
It is costing £701million to convert the stadium, built for London 2012, into a ground that can host football and athletics. Somehow, West Ham are paying for just £15million of that development.
Rival London clubs are particularly unhappy with the revelations. Tottenham and Arsenal have been forced to rethink their entire business strategy in order to finance their new stadiums.
The Emirates cost the Gunners around £700million, while Spurs’ Northumberland Park ground is expected to cost around the same.
However, it was primarily the work of the Charlton Athletics Supporters’ Trust which led to the tribunal over Freedom of Information. West Ham did not even turn up, and it is reported that that harmed the case for the details to be withheld.
West Ham, currently owned by David Gold and David Sullivan, argue that as they only have around 25 home games in the calendar, they should not pay for the upkeep of the stadium 365 days a year – just like every other Premier League club has to.
On the pitch, West Ham are enjoying one of their best seasons in a long time. But the row over their new stadium is an elephant in the room which is refusing to go away.
Should West Ham be made to pay the full costs like other clubs? Have your say in the comments!