The mayor of London has ordered an investigation into the rising costs of converting the Olympic Stadium into the home venue for Premier League club West Ham.
The centerpiece of the 2012 London Games has been transformed into a 60,000-seat multi-purpose venue at a cost of 323 million pounds (now $400 million), about 50 million pounds (now $60 million) more than initially estimated. British taxpayers are set to foot the spiraling bill.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office said “a detailed investigation into the full range of financial issues surrounding the stadium” has been ordered.
West Ham has a 99-year lease on the venue, which is now called London Stadium, and pays an annual rent of 2.5 million pounds (now $3 million) that covers nearly all their costs. The club also contributed 15 million pounds (now $18.4 million) toward the conversion costs, with taxpayers paying the rest.
The Olympic Stadium Coalition, a supporter-run campaign group that has sought more transparency about West Ham’s deal for the venue, said Wednesday that the investigation “is a breakthrough in our long campaign to highlight the intolerable burden on taxpayers of the rebuilding of the Olympic Stadium to the specification of a well-off Premier League football club.”