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LLDC forced to publish details of West Ham Olympic Stadium deal

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The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) – the company which operates London’s Olympic Park – has been ordered to publish full details of its deal allowing Premier League football club West Ham United to use the Olympic Stadium.

West Ham will play home games at the 60,000-capacity ground from next season, putting £15m (US$21.5m, €18.7m) towards the conversion of the stadium, which was built for the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as paying around £2.5m (US$3.6m, €3.1m) in rent per year.

Other specifics of the 99-year lease deal have been withheld by the LLDC, but following a failed appeal to the government's Information Tribunal, those details will have to be revealed under Freedom of Information rules. The LLDC has 35 days before it has to publish the contract in full.

The LLDC has argued that making the details public would harm commercial negotiations with other potential tenants and sponsors going forward.

However, the decision was commended by a fan coalition of 14 football clubs which have lobbied for the full release of the details. The coalition includes Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Aston Villa Supporters’ Trust, The Blue Union (Everton), Canaries Trust (Norwich City), Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Crystal Palace Supporters’ Trust, The Dons Trust (AFC Wimbledon), The Foxes Trust (Leicester City), Fulham Supporters’ Trust, Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust, Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, QPR1st Supporters’ Trust and Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust.

“We’re naturally delighted with the outcome, as we see this as an issue of fairness to the taxpayer, to the clubs near and far, and to football as a whole. We now respectfully request that the LLDC do what is right, waive the right to an appeal, and publish the deal in full so that it can be properly assessed and its implications understood,” said a coalition spokesperson.

“The very reason we launched this campaign was because there was considerable doubt about the use of a major public asset, and the money being spent. Don’t forget that these are terms granted to a privately-owned business: a Premier League football club who will next year be in receipt of more than £100m (US$143.1m, €125m) per season just for turning up.”

The LLDC said it was “disappointed” with the decision, adding: “The ruling will result in significant challenges given the commercial realities of a highly competitive market, which could amount to many millions of pounds being lost over the term of a 99-year deal.”

West Ham insisted it had “nothing to hide” from the details being released, and stressed that its tenancy at the Olympic Stadium would “return hundred of millions of pounds to the public purse over the course of the contact”.

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The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) – the company which operates London’s Olympic Park – has been ordered to publish full details of its deal allowing Premier League football club West Ham United to use the Olympic Stadium.
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