The London Legacy Development Corporation has called on West Ham United to retract a claim that it deliberately misled the public when discussing details of the club’s rent to play at London Stadium.
Last week, Lyn Garner chief executive of the LLDC – the stadium’s landlord – said that West Ham’s annual rent of £2.5m to play at the stadium does not cover the cost of staging matches.
Garner said this is “the elephant in the room” when it comes to the stadium’s finances but West Ham responded with a statement on Friday night that questioned the validity of the claims.
West Ham’s statement said that the club was concerned that Garner’s comments are “deliberately misleading the public and, more importantly, taxpayers”. It added that the club now pays “£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.”
However, the LLDC has now disputed West Ham’s claims, insisting it is paid around £3m a season by the club. “It remains a fact that the West Ham usage fee does not cover event-day costs,” the LLDC said, according to the BBC.
The BBC also reported details of a letter sent yesterday (Monday) by LLDC chairman Sir Peter Hendy in response to West Ham’s statement. The letter 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.
“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. We are not pointing the finger at West Ham for this, it is just a fact and something we have to deal with.
“We also said that the West Ham contract was just one area which caused financial problems for the stadium. The others we laid before members included the cost of seat moves from football to athletics and back again, our contract with UK Athletics and the stadium operator and high running costs.
“These are all areas we are tackling and making progress in getting on to a sound financial footing.”
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