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Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
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Alan 1:42 Tue Oct 6
London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
Financial News

London Stadium owners sue law firm Allen & Overy over West Ham’s 99-year lease

West Ham and the London Stadium’s owners have fought a series of legal battles over the lease of the ground

By James Booth

The owners of London’s former Olympic stadium have kicked off a legal fight with Magic Circle law firm Allen & Overy over its drafting of Premier League club West Ham United’s 99-year lease of the arena.

The stadium’s owners have brought a professional negligence suit against the City law firm for its work on the 2013 concession agreement with West Ham, which has been the subject of a series of expensive lawsuits.

West Ham and the London Stadium’s public sector owners London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and E20 Stadium LLP have fought several multimillion pound legal disputes stemming from disagreements over the contract that governs the club’s lease of the ground.

The stadium’s public sector owners have lost millions of pounds annually under the terms of the agreement, which a 2017 report, commissioned by London mayor Sadiq Khan, concluded represented poor value for taxpayers.

LLDC and E20 are set to argue that poor drafting by A&O contributed to their difficult relationship with West Ham and a series of costly legal disputes over the interpretation of the agreement, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

“The whole case will revolve around the drafting of the concession agreement and the problems that has caused,” the person said.

LLDC and E20 Stadium launched the High Court claim on 29 September, according to court filings.

An LLDC spokesperson said: “We are in dispute with A&O over the drafting of the West Ham United concession agreement and despite our attempts to resolve this dispute with A&O have been unable to do so.

“We have a responsibility to protect taxpayers’ interests and so have had no alternative but to seek redress through the courts.”

A spokesperson for A&O said: “This claim is entirely without merit and we will defend it vigorously.”

The stadium’s owners and West Ham fought a legal battle that was settled out of court in 2018 over whether the concession agreement allowed for the stadium’s match-day capacity to be increased from 57,000 to 66,000.

West Ham and the stadium’s owners have also fought costly legal battles over issues such as the colour of the materials surrounding the pitch, the number of draught beer pumps in the stadium’s bars and the number of televisions showing Sky TV in the ground.

E20 Stadium LLP – which runs the ground and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of LLDC – made a loss of £28.7m in the year to 31 March 2019 according to its accounts filed with Companies House.

It reported nearly £6m in exceptional costs, which it said included legal fees from the stadium capacity dispute with West Ham.

A 2017 report from accountancy firm Moore Stephens commissioned by Sadiq Khan found that the concession agreement with West Ham would not cover the cost of running the stadium and would leave taxpayers with a hefty annual bill.

“The West Ham agreement... does not recover from West Ham by way of rent and other charges a sum sufficient to cover the associated running costs of the stadium,” it said.

“Presently, the investment by the public purse in the stadium transformation is not only unlikely ever to be recovered, it will on present figures be likely to worsen year by year at the rate of some £10m to £20m per year, due to expected operating losses” the report added.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

oioi 12:47 Fri Oct 9
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
11MDE 10:45 Thu Oct 8

Spot on.

I walked past the front of the stadium today. It's beginning to look a bit grubby. We should give the landlords a call and get them to pay to have the exterior pressure washed. I presume that general upkeep/maintenance is in the contract.

11MDE 11:37 Thu Oct 8
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
How do you mean not fit for purpose? It safely houses 60,000+ fans, with a proper infrastructure to get in and get out of the ground. If you mean some areas are bit further away than at Upton Park and parts of the design are far from perfect then that doesn’t mean it’s not fit for purpose. It just means it not how some people would like it.

North Bank 11:12 Thu Oct 8
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
mde true, however the concrete bowl is hardly fit for purpose now, so imagine what state it would be in without all of those taxpayer alterations

11MDE 10:45 Thu Oct 8
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
The only person to blame for all this is Mr Daniel Levy. If the bitter Yid hadn’t thrown his toys out of the pram over the original deal, then none of this would be happening. And that as Rafa says.....is a fact.

Mike Oxsaw 2:45 Wed Oct 7
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
Seb, Asti & Coe

gph 2:29 Wed Oct 7
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
Sebastian Coe, new patron saint of lawyers.

Jim79 2:21 Wed Oct 7
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
El Scorchio 8:21 Tue Oct 6

This is spot on mate. Amazing how competent and sharp the 3 spivs have proven to be when it suited their own greed and profitability.

Mike Oxsaw 10:35 Wed Oct 7
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
So, basically, the vanity of a handful of people is worth more than several million pounds of taxpayers money.

That's a lot of PPE that could have been sat there, waiting...

Chigwell 12:55 Wed Oct 7
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
If it ever comes to trial (a big "if" - most commercial cases settle) this could be very embarrassing for those who were in charge at LLDC at the time, and maybe the politicians they answered to. Their instructions to Allen & Overy, and the advice they received, would become public knowledge. So it's likely that to protect that legal privilege and their own reputation, they won't take this all the way.

Lily Hammer 11:13 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
Kite

No way. If there was, they would be doing whatever they could to make that happen instead of suing their own law firm.

All they can do is ask GSB kindly whether they could pay a bit more. You can guess what their response would be.

Mike Oxsaw 10:25 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
Sullivan muddying more waters?

Kite 10:10 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
is it possible they could rewrite our contract to make us pay more money.

If there's any truth in a take over i really hope this doesn't put them off. Long drawn out legal battles and bad press could put them off.

Jasnik 9:37 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
6 million in legal fees bloody hell.

El Scorchio 8:21 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
Sven Roeder 7:15

That seems to be about it, but even then I guess someone should have proof read it? Either way what's signed is signed and surprisingly someone other than West Ham fucked up.

Funny how the club ownership has been RAZOR sharp and totally on top in all matters pertaining to the stadium, making a huge change from almost everything on the football side of the business, presumably because they knew they could make off like bandits and line their pockets for personal gain to high heaven if it works out. Unless they were just lucky to be dealing with people stupider than them for once...

Mike Oxsaw 7:30 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
I'm quite surprised that the local government here don't have their own team of in-house lawyers - or maybe they do, but only for LGBT matters.

Excellent use of rate-payers' money, that.

Sven Roeder 7:15 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
I guess their only argument could be if they have evidence that they asked the drafting to protect them in certain circumstances and situations and it’s been shown that that hasn’t happened BECAUSE the agreement was poorly or incompetently drafted.
I’m going to bet the stadium to a brick that no one gave detailed instructions that might bring that into play

kylay 6:58 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
I'm struggling to understand the cause of action against the law firm. I don't know UK law, but it seems like malpractice is the only potential one, and that would be an awfully high bar to clear.

Lily Hammer 6:49 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
If we owned the stadium outright, we could earn loads from it, if we were run by a professional outfit; not GSB, though. They would find some way of fucking it up.

If I were in charge, I would refuse to break the 99 deal unless athletics was fucked off out of it and we could do what we want with the structure/configuration.

Any Old Iron 6:39 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
So if the politicians actually come to their senses and realise that losing £10 to £20 MILL a year on the bowl is not a good look, and then decide to let us have it for next to nothing does that mean it's going to cost the club an extra £10 to £20 MILL a year in running costs?
Or perhaps once you remove running around and throwing stuff from the equation you wouldn't be losing anywhere near as much dough. And being able to do what we want with it commercially might even mean we make a profit from it.

, 5:27 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
The London Olympics was a political project, no doubt about it.

Hermit Road 5:20 Tue Oct 6
Re: London Stadium owners sue law firm over West Ham's 99-year lease
Politicians often make for terrible businessmen, which is why politicians should have as little to do with business as possible.

Want to fuck up an economy, then give politicians more control over it.

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