OS “state aid” claim threatens can of worms


120416 LOCOG Aerials_037Renewed claims have arisen this week that West Ham could be investigated by the European Commission that it will be receiving state funding when it moves to the Olympic Stadium in 2016.

The Guardian newspaper ran a story yesterday on the back of a Freedom of Information request from Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust who have been campaigning that the rental agreement between West Ham United and LLDC be made public.

There seems to be a much wider problem across much of Europe with regards to state funding of football. Eighteen months ago the European commission started an investigation into seven Spanish clubs including Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Fellow La Liga teams Osasuna, Athletic Bilbao, Valencia, Elche and second-tier Hercules are under investigation. Real are alleged to have sold training ground land to the City of Madrid at an over-inflated price of 22.7m euros.Valencia-based clubs Valencia, Hercules and Elche are alleged to have received state-backed loans up to 75m euros.

In response to the renewed Guardian claims yesterday a West Ham spokesman said: “West Ham United is confident that its agreement with the LLDC complies with all relevant UK and European legislation and categorically does not constitute state aid.

“Indeed, the European Commission looked into a complaint in relation to our move to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2013 but ‘decided not to further pursue’ the matter.

“The club was selected as anchor concessionaire following a fair, transparent and robust process that was open to any group or organisation in the country. Out of the four proposals submitted, West Ham’s was selected as it delivered a sustainable and viable future for the Stadium and, crucially, provided the best return for the taxpayer.

“The agreement with the LLDC will see West Ham make a substantial capital contribution towards the conversion works of a Stadium that it may only rent for up to 25 matchdays a year, pay a multimillion pound annual usage fee, as well as offering a share of food and catering sales from its supporters.

“The worldwide draw of hosting the most popular and watched football league in the world in such an iconic venue will add value to any sponsorship and commercial agreements related to the Stadium, which the public purse stands to further benefit from.

“It is clear that the linking of the naming rights to West Ham United generates real cash value for the LLDC. Without West Ham United, the Stadium would continue to cost the taxpayer millions of pounds a year.
“With us, the public purse will see a return on the hundreds of millions of pounds that were committed to build the Stadium, long before West Ham’s association had begun.”

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I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball,

I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh.

Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons!

Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter


  • bubs says:

    You should put this on wetpantstil.com they love stats this will keep them going til the end of their kings reign,
    Seems they don’t have a case ( wonder how much that’s going to cost us )

  • HamburgHammer says:

    Yeah, the European Court will soon be ruling on this: West Ham have indeed shamelessly exploited the plight of the taxpayer by agreeing to rent the white elephant for 25 dates a year without owning it.

    The verdict forces West Ham to pay an increased rent of 30 million each season for the next 99 years. Moreover West Ham will need to pay a yearly penalty fee to the following clubs to balance out the advantage they have from playing in the OS – Charlton, Leyton Orient and Spurs will each receive 5 million per year.
    Other clubs like Sheffield United, Fulham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Brentford, Watford or Palace are eligible for the same yearly amount should they decide to apply for it within the next five years.

    Moreover due to the severity of West Ham’s wrongdoing the club will need to pay 650 million pounds (cost of the stadium plus conversion) as a special penalty fee towards the local authorities. West Ham will however not own the OS, it is merely a penalty fee payable over three years.

    And in order to remind West Ham to watch their future conduct they will be deducted 15 points at the start of the season for the next ten years.

  • Rads Can Take No More Samasaurus.com says:

    Haha,nice one Hamburg.I think you forgot the most serious penalty that they might impose though-That we have to give Sam a 10yr contract 😉

    • Peterrim says:

      Rads, you are wrong about Sam. He will be our manager for the whole 99 year lease. It’s the least we deserve for usurping Orient’s divine right to fill the OS with their millions of fans))

  • mattefumi el loco says:

    Ahahah… Sorry Hamburg I’m the stats guru here, but probably you’re better than me… You’re a football encyclopedia, you’re are better than Wikipedia… Effective today, I tender my resignation… Lol 😉


  • HamburgHammer says:

    No mattefumi, you keep doing your thing…:-)
    It riles me up how Man City got away with the way they got gifted their stadium.
    It riles me up how folks like Hearn or Levy (spygate, tapping up etc.) never get asked any probing question in the media about their role in all this, their hypocrisy.
    Same with Charlton who are keen to determine how much rent we should pay.
    We made the best deal for us we could, apparently this was the best deal the LLDC could get out of West Ham, otherwise we might have simply walked away leaving the LLDC to deal with their white elephant.
    By definition it looks very much like a market going rate to me. A market price is what a buyer (or in this case an anchor concessionaire) is prepared to pay.
    Sour grapes stuff there from the other fans, clubs and the media.
    How dare West Ham finally getiing a good deal for themselves ?

  • Rads Can Take No More Samasaurus.com says:

    Dont worry Matte,it will give you more time to do recipes with the figas if you dont have the added responsibilty of Stats Guru as well as trying to be Antonio Carluccio to impress the bella donnas 😀

  • Rads Can Take No More Samasaurus.com says:

    The thing is, this is the Charlton supporters trust but i dont know how these trusts work with the club.I know this is beneficial to Charlton to have this sort of issue brought up but how closely do these supporters trust work with the clubs.I assume the interact with eachother which makes it all the more irritating if this is the case.To think we helped them out when in crisis with no ground to play at in the early ’90s,now they come back to try & give us an almighty kick in the balls by trying to stir up yet another issue to do with the OS.Seems they have no ability to remember who helped them out when they needed a hand.

  • HamburgHammer says:

    Whatever issues may arise from this (I doubt they will really as the European Union authorities already knocked this one back two years ago, claiming there was no case) it basically isn’t West Ham’s problem, the LLDC/local politicians may in theory get a problem, but I still think that both the LLDC and West Ham had legal experts sitting over this deal for ages before it was signed.
    Especially in our case after the Tevez fiasco I am confident that our board made sure there could and would be no loopholes this time around.

  • Rads Can Take No More Samasaurus.com says:

    No i dont think anything will come of it either.Not because i am an expert on it but just a gut feeling that everything else that has been thrown at us from other parties & clubs has been pretty much dismissed,so i am thinking & hoping that this will be the same.Just another bunch of jealous supporters trying to cause problems.Not so much for their benefit but to try & shaft us because they can see the distinct possibility that if we handle things in the right way i believe we really have the chance to be a big club over the next 10yrs.IF we do things the right way 😉

  • mattefumi el loco says:

    Ahaha… Ok rads, I’m happy because now I’ve got more free time, but probably you don’t know my prestigious position of stats guru was helped me with girls… When I said about my wild job they were crazy about me… better than a jet pilot or a football player… Lol 🙂
    Sorry rads… Who is Antonio Carluccio? Lol


  • Rads Can Take No More Samasaurus.com says:

    Haha,i didnt think you would know him,lol,he is a famous Italian chef & restaurant owner over here.He is Italian but lived over here for a long time.Does lots of tv shows here,he is funny.Good guy 😉

  • Rads Can Take No More Samasaurus.com says:

    He does tv shows with another italian chef called gennaro contaldo,they are funny together,take the p*ss all the time.But sorry we must only talk west ham Matte,this is serious business,lol 😉

  • mattefumi el loco says:

    Ahahahah… Ok thanks, he is lke Gordon Ramsey…


  • Rads Can Take No More Samasaurus.com says:

    Haha,yes Matte,something like that,lol 😉

  • mattefumi el loco says:

    Gennaro Cataldo… Ahahaha… Lol


  • celticredhawk says:

    Is this number of 25 games flexible? There are 19 home games. What about friendlies, extended cup runs, europé? Will those game be accomadated if needs be?

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