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66,000 by next season

Filed: Wednesday, 12th December 2018
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United have reached agreement with Olympic Stadium operators E20 over plans to expand the arena's capacity to 66,000.

Details of the compromise were revealed in a letter from the two parties to the London Assembly, following last month's out-of-court settlement.

"As the committee is aware on the 19th November 2019 West Ham United and E20 were able to reach an amicable settlement which resolved the litigation regarding the football capacity at London Stadium," read the letter, signed jointly by West Ham's vice chairman Karren Brady and London Legacy Development Corporation CEO Lyn Garner.

LLDC CEO Lyn Garner

"Both parties acknowledge that the agreement is the first step in rebuilding the partnership and that the relationship will benefit if a collaborative approach is taken in respect our communication around this thereby enabling the parties to foster better relations.

"This will enable West Ham United and E20 to work constructively together to maximise this magnificent Stadium for the benefit of West Ham supporters, our community and the public purse."

In agreement with E20, West Ham initially plan to raise the stadium's capacity to 60,000 in time for the club's first home fixture of 2019, with Brighton & Hove Albion scheduled to visit Stratford on 2 January.

Embed from Getty Images

And the club now possess the option to extend the stadium's capacity to 66,000 - on the basis that a request is submitted to E20 by 1 June each year, two months prior to the start of the Premier League season.

In return, West Ham - whose currently pay an annual rent of circa £3million - will pay E20 an additional £250,000 rent per annum in order to raise the capacity to 60,000, a further £83,000 to raise it to 62,500 and another £115,500 for full capacity (66,000) to be reached.

United will also be liable for any additional building or licensing costs that may arise from making an extra 8,000 seats available to supporters.

Embed from Getty Images

London Assembly member Gareth Bacon, who chairs the Budget & Performance Committee said: "We’re pleased that peace has broken out between the London Stadium’s key players.

"We saw first-hand how fractious the relationship had become between the London Legacy Development Corporation and West Ham - but we also sensed a way forward was still possible.

"Both parties want the London Stadium to succeed but both had become trapped in a toxic stalemate. It made no sense for the LLDC to squander more taxpayers’ money on legal costs to break the deadlock, especially when talks held in a spirit of goodwill could achieve the same result.

"In October we called on both parties to pull back from the brink and seize a common sense solution. We’re glad this amicable settlement quickly followed our intervention."

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