West Ham United has hit back against claims made last week by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), the landlord of the London Stadium.
Lyn Garner, chief executive of the LLDC, said last week that West Ham’s annual rent of £2.5m to play at the stadium, which served as the hub of London’s Olympic Games in 2012, does not cover the cost of staging matches at the venue.
Garner described this matter as “the elephant in the room” and her comments came on the back of a number of financial problems that have beset the stadium in recent years.
In a statement issued on Friday night, West Ham questioned the validity of the claims. “West Ham United are concerned that this is deliberately misleading the public and, more importantly, taxpayers,” the club said in a statement reported by Sky Sports.
“West Ham now pay £3m in rent due to additional annual fees that have been introduced since our agreement in 2013 and a further £6m was received by our landlord from the food and beverage sold at our matches. With additional fees we pay for services at the London Stadium, the total revenues received from West Ham United and our activities is £10m a year.”
The stadium remains without a naming-rights sponsor, with telco Vodafone and Indian conglomerate Mahindra having both failed to strike a deal.
Last month it also emerged that West Ham was seeking to change the colour of the material around the playing surface at the stadium amid concerns it is too close to the navy blue of rival Tottenham Hotspur, and the club also addressed this matter in its statement.
The statement continued: “Ms Garner pointed out that E20 (the company set up to run the stadium) would not allow our pitch surround to be in our club colours because the LLDC are seeking a commercial deal for stadium naming rights and the track might be part of that negotiation.
“The Premier League do not allow commercial sponsor logos on pitch surrounds and therefore that can’t happen. It is again misleading. West Ham United have offered to help LLDC sell the naming rights and other commercial deals using our expertise of running the commercial side of a football club and its stadium. They have declined.
“The current strategy to point the finger at West Ham United is simply not the solution to the long-term viability and commercial success of the venue. We are running a football club, not the stadium, and for Ms Garner to lay any blame for their financial struggles at our door is wrong and misleading the public.”