The English government has rejected a request from a host of supporters’ clubs for an inquiry into West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium. The Hammers will take on a 99-year deal as anchor tenants starting from next season, but the decision to hand West Ham the keys to the stadium has been questioned ever since it was first announced two and a half years ago.
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A BBC documentary aired last month pointed out how much West Ham would be saving due to their agreement with the London Legacy Development Corporation and, since then, eight supporters’ groups started a petition for an inquiry into the details of the decision. Trusts from Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Charlton, Fulham and QPR – as well as two clubs who failed in bids to take over the stadium in Leyton Orient and Tottenham – all called on the government to open a case, but their request was thrown out on Thursday.
“West Ham United has a concession at the stadium and their contributions reflect that status,” a statement released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport read. “The contract, awarded after an open public competition, has been widely scrutinized and tested in court,”
“The stadium remains in public ownership (E20 Stadium LLP – a joint venture between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council) and the profits from its multiple uses will flow to the taxpayer.
“The agreement with West Ham United, including their contribution to transformation costs and rent, followed an open competitive process, which was delivered under EU rules, conducted visibly and exposed to significant scrutiny.
“The outcome has been tested in the courts and upheld. As the winning bid this constituted the best available return for the taxpayer and secures the commercial viability of a national asset for the next 100 years.”
While West Ham will host all of their home matches at the stadium, which will sport West Ham livery and colours, British Athletics also have a deal to take control of the arena for one month every summer – with the likes of the Anniversary Games and the 2017 World Athletics Championships set to be hosted there.
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