The prospect of the Anniversary Games happening at the London Stadium in July is in further doubt after West Ham indicated they might force UK Athletics to reschedule its flagship event if the Premier League season is extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new head of UKA, Joanna Coates, has called on West Ham to waive their tenancy rights if there’s a fixture clash, and therefore the London Legacy Development Corporation urged the club to compromise. But West Ham have responded strongly to suggestions they might need to play matches ahead of retracted stands and an athletics track.
The Anniversary Games, UKA’s most lucrative event, is thanks to happen on 4-5 July but West Ham are legally entitled to insist that E20, the stadium’s owner, move or postpone other events if they clash with their matches.
West Ham are the stadium’s principal tenants and have said they need written confirmation that E20 will respect the terms of their contract, which states their matches have overriding priority. They believe the agreement remains in situ until the top of the 2019-20 season and added that they were determined “not to compromise when it involves playing our fixtures”.
However, it’s also understood the contract states that West Ham need to show “an element of reasonableness” to accommodate other events. UKA’s belief is that the contract says athletics must happen at the stadium and, with the sporting calendar thrown into chaos, that West Ham will need to compromise. The dispute might be difficult to resolve as long as insiders have admitted that the Premier League side are ultimately entitled to means they need primacy of use. agen sbobet maxbetsbobet
West Ham said: “E20 CEO Lyn Garner wrote to West Ham United on 29 March and confirmed that each one our competitive matches take precedence over other activity at the stadium which E20 is in discussions with UKA, as they recognise that the Concessionary Agreement contractually obliges E20 to maneuver or postpone other events at the stadium to make sure our matches to travel ahead.
“We want to reassure our supporters that, as and when the Premier League resume the season, the London Stadium are going to be configured for football matches and not inappropriately found out for an athletics meeting or a concert.
“Our contract with the stadium requires E20 to supply the stadium configured for football if the season is extended. It also requires them to figure with UK Athletics et al. to reschedule their meetings in order that there’s no clash with West Ham’s fixtures.”
UKA is unlikely to form a choice on whether to stage the Anniversary Games for a minimum of another six weeks – with one insider saying they might wait until after a eu Athletics meeting in early May, which can check out the feasibility of holding the ecu Championships in Paris in August. If the Anniversary Games goes ahead it might provide UKA with a healthy financial windfall at a time of deep uncertainty.
A concern for West Ham is whether or not the work required to convert the stadium from football to athletics would interfere with their matches. it’s estimated that the conversion would take seven to 10 days and would be done by around 200 workers. Decisions are yet to be appropriated two other events at the stadium: big league Baseball on 13-14 June and a Green Day concert on 26 June.
An LLDC spokesman said: “These are unprecedented circumstances and that we will work closely with all those holding events. Whilst West Ham do have a priority use for football there’s also a transparent obligation to figure collaboratively to avoid date conflicts and, if necessary, play their games with the seating and track found out for athletics.”