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Fan coalition backs Information Commissioner’s demand to publish full terms of Olympic Stadium deal

15th September 2015

Image of the facade outside of Craven Cottage

Following discussions with members of the Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust at the Supporters Summit, held in Manchester in July, 2015, the Fulham Supporters’ Trust has been collaborating with an informal grouping of supporters’ trusts with regard to the deal struck between West Ham United FC and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) over their possible use of the Olympic Stadium, sited in the London Borough of Newham.

Subsequent to the decision of the Information Commissioner’s Office to require the LLDC to publish the, until now withheld, commercial information, the supporters’ groups involved met in central London on 14th. September, 2015 and agreed a press release, which is appended below.

Fan coalition backs Information Commissioner’s demand to publish full terms of Olympic Stadium deal

Supporters’ trusts’ campaign results in successful Freedom of Information request

The coalition of 14 supporters’ trusts seeking clarity on the Olympic Stadium deal with West Ham United FC today called on London Mayor Boris Johnson and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to ensure the full publication of the commercial terms of the contract after a positive response from the Information Commissioner.

The Information Commissioner has responded to a complaint lodged by the group under the Freedom of Information Act, ordering full publication of the commercial terms of the agreement, as requested by the coalition, within 35 days from the decision notice date of September 3rd. 

The LLDC has 28 days in which to lodge an appeal but the coalition of groups has called on Boris Johnson, as head of the LLDC, to waive that right, saying: 

“The Information Commissioner’s decision could not have been clearer, and it is equally clear to us that publication must follow. This campaign is publicly backed by 25,000 individuals, football supporters’ trusts from around the country, and the public interest in the issue is there for all to see.”

“We call on the mayor not to use the appeal system to delay publication of this document further. If he does it will open him up to the suspicion that he has something to hide”.

“This is an issue about the use of public money to, apparently, subsidise a commercial football business. It seems the taxpayer will be paying the cost of a series of overheads which every other club, rightly, has to pay for themselves. It is important that the taxpayer is allowed to know exactly what has gone on here, and to judge whether it is a responsible and fair use of public money.” 

Mayor’s Question Time will commence tomorrow at 10:00 am City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA, where questions have been tabled on the matter by Andrew Dismore, Labour & Cooperative London Assembly member, and are scheduled for about 12:00. The Mayor’s Question Time is now due to finish at around 13:00. 

Murad Qureshi AM and also Andrew Dismore AM, will both be located in the map area of the lower ground floor, near the café, at the end of the event. We will also have  representatives available to talk at the same time. 

For further enquiries: 

Steve Clarke, Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust                          07500 057067

Richard Pemberton, Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust                07976 705069

Mat Roper, Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust                                            07854 393037

Editors notes:

Football supporter groups, representing tens of thousands of football fans, backing the coalition are:

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

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust 

A petition launched by the coalition gained 25,000 signatures within days:

Faced with a refusal by the LLDC to explain how public money was being spent on this deal, the petition called for a public inquiry to expose the truth. The coalition said: We believe public money should be used responsibly, fairly, and in a way which does not distort the competitiveness of independent sports bodies and businesses. Considering the cost to the taxpayer, and the effect of this taxpayer subsidy on competition between clubs, a full public inquiry into the deal is needed.

For further reading, please see:
Best club and supporter relationship

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