West Ham and their landlords will go to the High Court in November to resolve a legal battle said to be worth more than £100million over the club’s bid to use all of the 66,000 seats at the London Stadium.
Crowds for games are limited to 57,000 by the London Legacy Development Corporation but West Ham want to open up the rest of the stadium. The issue concerns the costs of making the additional seats available and the revenue from them.
In December Gerry Murphy, then acting chief executive of the LLDC, told a London Assembly budget monitoring sub-committee meeting: “There is a dispute about what the contract says in terms of capacity. We feel that if West Ham want more seats, they should commensurately pay more. It is subject to legal proceedings.”
Asked who would benefit from the money generated by additional seating, Murphy said: “West Ham’s argument is they would receive all of the extra revenue. We would contend we should get a share of that.”
After almost two years of talks over the issue, West Ham have brought a lawsuit against the LLDC and the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday the total amount at stake was “well in excess of £100m”.
West Ham moved into the Stratford stadium in 2016, having signed a 99-year lease, paying rent of £2.5million a year.
The club are anxious to increase the capacity for matches as they have 52,000 season ticket holders. That leaves only 5,000 seats available, with around 3,000 of those for away fans.
The Hammers have also failed to reach an agreement with the LLDC to change the colour of the area around the pitch from green to claret.