Acts of hooliganism during West Ham United’s football matches at London’s old Olympic stadium have cost the taxpayer more than £500,000 this year.
Thousands of pounds have been spent on hiring extra police officers and security guards to tackle the bad behaviour of fans, the London Legacy Development Corporation revealed during a London Assembly meeting.
West Ham United are not required to pay the hefty bill, the BBC reported.
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During the meeting, LLDC head Lyn Garner told the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee that it wasn’t just West Ham United who had seen an “uptick” in hooligan-related trouble since the end of Covid restrictions – but a number of Premier League football clubs.
In October 2022, riot police flooded the venue after fans from the Belgium club Anderlecht threw out seats and began throwing them at West Ham fans during the Europa Conference League.
West Ham did pay for damage done to the seating and stadium toilets, but do not need to pay for the extra costs of policing and stewarding that are now in place, Ms Garner said.
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Susan Hall, the leader of the Conservatives for the London Assembly, has demanded Ms Garner write to the Premier League club and ask them to cover some of the cost of stewarding.
She said: “It is concerning that not only has there been an increase in issues with fan behaviour at West Ham, but that London taxpayers may have to foot the bill for this.”
The LLDC was launched in 2012 and is responsible for the regeneration of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and oversees the running of the Stratford site.
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In 2016, West Ham United moved from their Boleyn Ground to the Olympic stadium, now called the London Stadium, after 112 years of playing at the Upton Park stadium.
The club signed a 99-year lease and pay an annual rent of nearly £4 million a year to play there. The move has been dubbed “controversial” partly because of how much costs spiralled out of control when the Olympic stadium was to be transformed into a football venue.