A senior government minister for culture and sport has defended the deal that will bring Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo to West Ham United from the start of the 2016/2017 season, while a number of opponents have said that it represents ‘terrible’ value for taxpayers. Although the exact financial details have not yet been disclosed, a consortium of supporters’ groups around the UK have come together to submit all of the necessary Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to both the local and national government agencies that were responsible for the deal – industry experts have estimated that around £500m will be spent on the two players, with roughly £59.99 of this coming from the East London club.
Benedict Propup MP said: ‘While many people will think that this is a huge amount of money for a government to be spending, it has to be remembered that the country as a whole will benefit enormously from having Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo at West Ham United. In spite of what is being reported in the press, these two players are going to be incredibly active in the local community as part of the deal – for example, each player will take it in turns to host under-12s coaching sessions in Victoria Park on Saturday mornings. Although we are not in a position to disclose every single element of this incredibly complex deal, a variety of ongoing costs for these two players will be met by West Ham themselves. Christiano Ronaldo’s Brylcreem bill and Lionel Messi’s weekly Twining’s Tea budget will not impact the taxpayer at all, although the cost of policing the two players and the 50m area around them will be public funded.’
Mr Propup added: ‘As a government, we were forced to step in and ensure that the deal could take place because there were serious concerns that the Olympic Stadium will have huge numbers of empty seats every single week – nothing draws in the crowds like the two greatest players on Earth in the same team. As an added bonus for the taxpayer, the government will receive a 25% share of any revenue that is generated from giving the players naming rights, and we are already in preliminary talks with an unspecified discount supermarket about a ‘Christiano Ronaldi’ concept. Although other teams may feel like this is an unacceptable helping hand for a Premier League team, the general public must remember that West Ham United is Her Majesty’s favourite team, they won the World Cup single handedly and various other bollocks like that.’