London Fan Coalition Calls for Olympic Stadium Public Inquiry
Today, an unprecedented coalition of London football club supporters have come together to call for a full public inquiry into the deal agreed between West Ham United and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for the rental of the Olympic Stadium. This call comes in the wake of the recent BBC documentary which exposed the level of taxpayer subsidy being provided to West Ham United to occupy the stadium, and the subsequent calls for a public inquiry made by MP’s Chris Bryant and David Lammy.
We believe this deal, many of the details of which remain secret even after a Freedom of Information Act request, raises serious questions about the level of taxpayer subsidy given to a private company. We are also deeply concerned about the competitive advantage given to one club over others through this taxpayer subsidy.
A spokesperson for the coalition said: “The fact that so many supporter groups have come together to call for this inquiry shows that the issues raised go beyond football tribalism. As football fans and as taxpayers, we want to see the preservation of fair competition and full transparency in public finances. This shady deal is not in the interests of the game of football and does little to promote public confidence in the way our money is being spent.”
The organisations supporting this call are:
- Arsenal Supporters’ Trust
- Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust
- Chelsea Supporters’ Trust
- Crystal Palace Supporters’ Trust
- Fulham Supporters’ Trust
- Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust
- QPR1st Supporters’ Trust
- Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust
A petition has been launched on the UK Government and Parliament site. A link to the petition can be found here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/106355
Launch a full public inquiry into the deal agreed between West Ham United and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for the rental of the Olympic Stadium
We believe public money should be used responsibly, fairly, and in a way which does not distort the competitiveness of independent sports bodies and businesses. Yet, West Ham has only contributed £15m towards the £272m conversion costs of the Olympic Stadium, with the taxpayer footing the rest of the bill. The club has been allowed to keep the entire proceeds of the sale of their current stadium, last valued in their own accounts at £71m. Rental is said to be £2.5m per annum, dropping by half to £1.25m should West Ham be relegated, but recent revelations show that the taxpayer will also be picking up the costs of stadium utilities, security, maintaining the pitch, and even the goalposts and corner flags – estimated to be worth between £1.4m and £2.5m a year. Considering the cost to the taxpayer, and the effect of this taxpayer subsidy on competition between clubs, a full public inquiry into the deal is needed