Possible Olympic Stadium Ground share

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-10-22
Session date: 
October 22, 2014
Reference: 
2014/3623
Question By: 
Andrew Boff
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

If Tottenham Hotspur were to approach the London Legacy Development Corporation regarding the possible ground sharing of the Olympic Stadium for the 2017-18 season, would West Ham United have the power to veto such an approach?

Answer

Answer for Possible Olympic Stadium Ground share

Answer for Possible Olympic Stadium Ground share

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Andrew.  I know this is something on which you feel strongly.  We have not, I must say, had an approach from any other football club to share the stadium with West Ham.  Because of the rules of the Premiership, we would have to be pretty clever to work out a way of actually allowing two Premiership clubs to share it.  I am not certain it would work.  However, we are about to appoint an operator for the stadium.  Their job will be to maximise revenue and to get the best possible deal for London.  I want to see all sorts of things in that stadium, not just Premiership football but athletics, rugby, all sorts of stuff as well; rock concerts, you name it.  We are going to have loads of stuff in that stadium.

 [Inaudible speaking from an Assembly Member.] We could frack it, except I happen to know what is underneath the stadium.  What is underneath the stadium are the carcasses of about 20 million salmon, if you remember, from the salmon factory.  That is what is beneath the stadium.  There is no point fracking the stadium because it has fish underneath. 

Andrew Boff AM:  Mr Mayor, it is a very simple question in response to a quote from a spokesperson for West Ham United who had stated that they would probably say no to any approach to share the Olympic Stadium for one season.  The question asks you whether that tenant has the right of veto with regard to the use of the stadium. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is probably fair to say that the Premier League would have to approve any sharing and therefore the co-operation of West Ham would be essential. 

Andrew Boff AM:  Yes, absolutely.  However, would they have the right of veto? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Whether we could force two Premiership clubs to share the same bed, I do not know.  We could try it.  No one is currently approaching us with that as a proposal. 

Andrew Boff AM:  Mr Mayor, this is not À la recherche du temps perdu, in the original foreign language.  It is a simple question. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is not a simple question.  If I may say, it is a hypothetical question about an eventuality that has not arisen.  If you own a Premiership club and you want to install it in the Olympic Stadium, by all means approach them. 

Andrew Boff AM:  It is not hypothetical, Mr Mayor.  It is not hypothetical that West Ham is the favoured tenant.  Therefore, as a part of that tenancy, does it have the right of veto?  That is not a hypothetical question. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is not.  What is hypothetical is the possibility that there could be such a thing.  I have given you a very clear answer, which is that as far as I know you would have to get the co-operation of West Ham.  As you rightly point out, they do not seem very thrilled by the idea at the moment.  

If we were to be approached by a club that wanted to install themselves simultaneously in the stadium, in spite of all the timetabling difficulties that it would present and in spite of the rules of the Premiership which basically say you cannot do this, we would certainly look at the legal position because I want to maximise the use of the stadium.  Whether or not anybody wants to do that is very far from clear.  

If you know better than that, if you represent a football club that wants to be in the stadium, then make yourself known to our people. 

Andrew Boff AM:  It was the understanding that West Ham had of its role in the stadium.  I do not want to drag this on.  Would it help to get an answer if I feared civil unrest as a result of not securing an answer to this question? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  If you want to go and riot, Andrew, you can riot.  If you want to go and riot you can ‘riot on your own’, as I think The Clash once said.  You can go and riot by yourself in the stadium and see what happens.  I am not going to discourage you, provided you do no damage to any property or disturb anybody. 

Andrew Boff AM:  You are aware of your answers. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  My answer is that in an ideal world, obviously, we would fill the stadium every single day with different attractions and entertainments.  It will be very, very popular.  It will be very well used.  At the moment, as far as I can see, there are difficulties in jamming two Premiership clubs together. 

Andrew Boff AM:  There are. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I would personally be very attracted to that solution, but no club has so far approached us. 

Andrew Boff AM:  I absolutely understand that you would seek the consent.  This is my last attempt for anyone else and I am sorry to keep the Assembly.  I absolutely understand that you would seek the consent of West Ham for any other uses of the stadium. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We would have to look at our legal position. 

Andrew Boff AM:  I absolutely understand that.  Consent is what we try to get.  In the event of that consent not being given, does West Ham have the right or the power to veto any other club? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We would have to look at the law and we would have to see what was practicable.  At the moment it is, I am afraid, a hypothetical question.  West Ham has one view of this hypothetical question and you have another.  Until we actually see a proposal, it is very difficult to give an answer. 

Andrew Boff AM:  I will dispute another time whether or not it is a hypothetical question as to the main tenant for West Ham and whether it has at the moment the power of veto over who else goes in the stadium. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We have no proposal.  It depends what the proposal is. 

Andrew Boff AM:  That is not hypothetical, Mr Mayor.  That is actual.  Anyway, I will give in. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Good.