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SBD Global/October 15, 2012/Facilities

West Ham's Move To Olympic Stadium In Doubt Following Illegal Financial Aid

EPL club West Ham's move to London's Olympic Stadium "has been thrown into doubt after European Commission officials wrote to the U.K. government asking for details about potentially illegal state aid to football clubs," according to Rob Draper of the London DAILY MAIL. The commission, an arm of the European Union, has power to halt West Ham's bid and has written to all EU countries with the same request. However, the letter to the U.K. government "specifically mentions West Ham's potential use of the Olympic Stadium." The EC probe "could prove beneficial" to EPL clubs. It "is likely to highlight subsidies paid to Spanish, French and German clubs by city councils," such as the deal with Madrid City Council to buy Real Madrid's training ground in '01 to clear its £200M debt at a rate that critics said was preferential (DAILY MAIL, 10/13). In London, Ashling O'Conner wrote European Commission Dir-General for Competition AQlexander Italianer sent a letter to all member states and  "set out five main areas of inquiry to pinpoint instances of football being illegally subsidised by taxpayers."  The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has until Dec. 1 to respond. Italianer's request, it is through, "was prompted by an anonymous complaint, but it is not known whether this was specifically about the Olympic Stadium or about football more widely" (LONDON TIMES, 10/15).
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