West Ham United’s legal row with their London Stadium landlords over beer prices at their home matches has intensified after the cost of the cheapest pint was cut by just 20p for their Europa Conference League game against Viborg.
The club had threatened to sue after it emerged the minimum cost of a pint for their Premier League opener against Manchester City had been £6.80, more than 30 per cent more than the equivalent drink at Tottenham Hotspur (£5.19).
Under the terms of their tenancy of the former Olympic Stadium, West Ham do not set the prices charged for beer.
They cited a ‘Comparable Clubs’ clause in their catering agreement with those in charge of running the publicly-owned venue. That clause states that food and drink at their matches should cost no more than the mean average of the amounts charged by Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs. That would put the cost of the cheapest pint at £5.75.
On Thursday London Stadium agreed to a reduction to £6.60 for West Ham’s play-off first leg with Viborg, while also cutting the price of the same drink pre-match from £6 to £4.95.
But a club spokesperson said: “The food and beverage prices set by London Stadium and Delaware North [the catering company] are not in line with the club’s values or aspiration for the stadium to be accessible to all and we will not rest until we reach a fair resolution for our supporters.
"When the club agreed the concession agreement, we ensured West Ham United supporters were protected in respect of concession pricing, so we ensured that the agreement included a clause that states that prices must not be greater than the mean average of equivalent prices charged at comparable London clubs. The current prices do not reflect that.
“Discussions are ongoing with London Stadium and Delaware North and we will continue to fight on behalf of our supporters to ensure the protections we put in place are honoured. We urge E20 [the stadium managers], LS185 [the stadium operators] and the London Mayor, who has ultimate responsibility for the stadium, to agree to a positive resolution ahead of Sunday’s Premier League fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion – we are asking for nothing more than the agreement entitles us to.
"If the club does not get a satisfactory resolution before then, it will immediately commence legal proceedings against London Stadium.”
A London Stadium spokesperson said: “Following feedback from customers after the first game of the season we have been working closely with the club and reviewing the prices with our catering partner. From tonight [Thursday] this will result in a price reduction on many key products. The pre-match lowest price beer is £4.95 from £6, pies are back at the same price as last season at £5.50, a 50p reduction, and sausage rolls at £4.30, a reduction of 70p. In addition we are working to introduce a lower priced beer to our range as soon as possible, and certainly within the next fortnight.
“As with many goods and services the quality of the offer is different to other providers which means there can’t be a direct like for like comparisons in all cases. In other venues the club and/or sponsors also offer subsidies to the catering provider to reduce the price the fan pays. Considering all factors we are confident that we are delivering within our contractual requirements.
“London Stadium pays all staff London Living Wage and alongside our catering partner has invested in providing a quality service to those attending events.”
The row over beer prices is the latest in a long line of public spats between West Ham and their landlords since the club became the stadium’s anchor tenants almost a decade ago in what critics branded "the deal of the century".