This summer’s Anniversary Games at the London Stadium could be under threat due to the ongoing dispute between West Ham United and UK Athletics over the use of the venue.
Premier League matches are currently suspended until April 30 at the earliest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the season does eventually resume in the summer, London Stadium tenant West Ham would need the venue to stage any remaining home matches.
However, with UK Athletics’ Anniversary Games due to take place at the stadium over the weekend of July 4-5, there is the prospect of an event pile-up. A two-day Major League Baseball series is also scheduled for June 13-14, and Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer are due to perform at the venue on June 26 as part of their joint Hella Mega Tour.
West Ham has previously insisted that its fixtures would take priority over other events held at the venue due to a clause in its contract with stadium landlord E20. UK Athletics, though, said last week that it had not yet held discussions over how the venue would be used in the event of a clash.
The Guardian has reported that West Ham’s contract with E20 states that the club must show “an element of reasonableness” to accommodate other events, with UK Athletics having urged the club to waive its rights to play at the stadium if there is a clash.
West Ham has moved to reiterate its stance on the matter.
In a statement reported by The Guardian, West Ham said: “E20 CEO Lyn Garner wrote to West Ham United on 29 March and confirmed that all our competitive matches take precedence over other activity at the stadium and that E20 is in discussions with UKA, as they recognise that the Concessionary Agreement contractually obliges E20 to move or postpone other events at the stadium to ensure our matches to go ahead.
“We want to reassure our supporters that, as and when the Premier League resume the season, the London Stadium will be configured for football matches and not inappropriately set up for an athletics meeting or a concert.
“Our contract with the stadium requires E20 to provide the stadium configured for football if the season is extended. It also requires them to work with UK Athletics and others to reschedule their meetings so that there is no clash with West Ham’s fixtures.”
It remains to be seen whether the Anniversary Games will go ahead as scheduled amid continued uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Image: West Ham United