There is no guarantee of free tickets for Newham residents to attend West Ham United home matches despite an agreement pledging up to 100,000 tickets each season, the borough's mayor has said.

In a Newham Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on November 8, mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said she will continue to chase the football tickets but warned it could also amount to nothing due to vague contractual details.

She said: “In terms of the football tickets, there was this community benefits announcement or community benefits agreements announcement in December 2017 with much trumpeting that Newham residents would benefit from thousands of tickets for the next 100 years.

“What was failed to be mentioned in the public domain during that announcement was actually in agreement with West Ham United Football Club – [it] was in very loose and vague terms [and] was not a guarantee of a minimum, it was anything up to and anything could include zilch.”

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She added: “Tickets would come through… subject to whether or not West Ham football club thought it needed to get rid of some surplus tickets it had. What was motivating and driving that I don’t know, it’s a question you should be asking West Ham football club.”

Under the West Ham Concession Agreement, which was signed by the Premier League club, E20 Stadium LLP and WH Holding Limited in 2013, Newham residents were promised a range of community benefits including up to 100,000 tickets each season for residents of the borough to watch West Ham United play.

Newham Recorder: Newham mayor Rokhsana FiazNewham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz (Image: Ken Mears)

In 2017, the Recorder reported Newham Council pulled out of funding the former Olympic Stadium after originally investing £40m followed by a further £12.2m in 2015 – resulting in the local authority losing £52.2m.

The initial £40m loan was agreed by the council through its Newham Legacy Investments alongside the London Legacy Development Corporation [LLDC] back in 2012. 

The deal helped move West Ham United into the Olympic Stadium, with former Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales promising a £3m per year profit for the council following the 2013 Concession Agreement – but the financial gain in returns never prospered.

The money, which was borrowed from the Treasury, had to be written off by the council in December 2017.

The LLDC told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that after Newham stopped investing in the stadium, it was agreed that the council would deal directly with West Ham about its allocation of tickets for Newham residents.

The Newham Legacy Investment Scrutiny Commission was launched to examine the decisions taken in relation to the stadium, as well as lessons that could be learnt from investing in the stadium.

A total of seven recommendations were put forward by the commission including comprehensive training on financial and risk awareness and ensuring every council member understands the decisions they are asked to take.

Officers behind the commission told the committee that all seven recommendations have now been implemented by the council.

West Ham United was contacted for comment but did not respond at the time of going to press.

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