English Premier League football club West Ham United has become involved in another legal dispute with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) over the terms of its London Stadium contract.
The two parties are already at loggerheads over plans to expand the capacity of the stadium and UK newspaper The Times reports that further disagreement has arisen surrounding the cost of draught beer, Sky television and hospitality staff.
The Times notes that West Ham has asked for draught beer to be sold at all London Stadium bars. The LLDC, which owns the stadium, argues that these costs should be covered by the club itself.
Another contentious issue is the broadcast of Sky Sports on TVs across the stadium. West Ham insists every TV should show Sky Sports, although the LLDC showcases advertisements on some screens. The costs of having the adverts removed should again be footed by West Ham, the LLDC says.
The Times’ report adds that West Ham wants the LLDC to cover the costs of hosts and hostesses in director and corporate boxes at the stadium. The LLDC says West Ham should foot the bill.
The stadium was built for London’s hosting of the 2012 summer Olympic Games and the athletics track that runs around the pitch is currently hidden by a green cover on West Ham match days. According to The Times, West Ham is prepared to pay £200,000 to have the cover replaced by a club-branded one, but the LLDC says this would impact on London Stadium’s appearance during non-football events.
In a statement issued to The Times, West Ham said: “West Ham United does not ordinarily comment on legal matters, but our supporters need to know that recent reports do not paint an accurate picture.
“We are seeking no more than we are entitled to under our contract and for which we pay rent. In simple terms the issue in dispute is this: if you entered into a contract to rent the whole of a house and afterwards the landlord said that you could not use one of the upstairs bedrooms without paying extra, you would not pay up. The way this has been misdescribed in some press reports infers that we are asking for something we are not entitled to. This is not the case. No business would pay twice for rights to which it is already entitled.
“We have offered to pay for a track cover, even though the contract does not require us to do so. We have paid Sky so that Sky Sports can be shown within the stadium. We have offered to pay a fair price for any rights in addition to those we are entitled.
“What we already pay for is the right to use the stadium and its facilities as our home ground. We welcome the Mayor’s intervention and hope that this will be the start of a more sensible approach to the partnership to the benefit of our supporters, Londoners and the stadium as a whole.”
A spokesman for the LLDC added: “We believe West Ham is claiming rights under the Concession Agreement that are not theirs. We would much prefer to resolve these matters through negotiation but West Ham has chosen a legal route. There is great value in these rights over the lifetime of the agreement and we have a duty to defend our rights.”