KC Stadium stripped of its Hull FC memorabilia after club chooses not to pay
EHAB Allam has defended the decision to strip the KC Stadium of Hull FC pictures and memorabilia – despite it causing uproar among Black and Whites fans.
Although the Hull FC flag and club badge were still displayed outside the KC for yesterday's Super League clash with Bradford, inside, almost all traces of the club had been removed.
Much to the anger of FC fans, this included pictures of the 2005 Challenge Cup final win, and even the removal of a picture of club legend Johnny Whiteley MBE from a suite named after him.
However, Mr Allam, who with his father Assem owns both the Stadium Management Company (SMC) and KC Stadium tenants Hull City, says it has simply been due to FC choosing not to pay for the privilege.
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He insists both City and FC are being charged the same to display items throughout the stadium as part of a move to "tighten commercial agreements".
Mr Allam said: "The simple facts are that there is a lease agreement at the KC Stadium that all tenants, be it football, rugby or education, have to adhere to.
"Unfortunately, in years gone by, all tenants at the stadium have been benefiting from extras to their lease agreements without payments.
"All we have done is said anything those tenants want beyond the agreement has to be paid for.
"It is the same for all.
"That is the case with regards to displays inside the KC. We have not prevented anything from being displayed.
"We have not banned anything. Any tenant can display what they want, if they pay the rate."
Mr Allam admitted the move had come about as a result of them taking tighter control over the running of the SMC since buying both that company, and the Tigers, in December 2010.
He said a new managing director, John North, had been appointed shortly before Christmas to ensure the stadium was run as an "efficient commercial operation".
He insisted both clubs had been given the same time-frame to make payments for displays.
Mr Allam said: "The stadium has always failed to make money, and the SMC has previously been heavily criticised for not generating any revenue for Hull City Council.
"The problem was that everything had been run so loosely before. We have a responsibility to run it as a commercial operation, for the community and for good of the stadium, and that is what we are doing."
Mr Allam also said Hull FC and Hull City are being treated fairly in terms of usage of the stadium.
It comes after Hull FC's Daniel Holdsworth was prevented from practising his goal-kicking last Thursday, the day before their match with Bradford was originally scheduled before being postponed.
Mr Allam said he was unaware of that incident, but said Hull City had also been refused permission to use the KC shortly after Christmas during the bad weather.
He said: "There are agreements with the clubs as to when they can use the pitch. Obviously, they have it for matchdays, but any other use requires the permission of the SMC, and both have to notify in advance.
"Hull City manager Steve Bruce requested to use the pitch recently, but given the weather, and the state of the pitch last year, it was refused. Hull FC know the agreements in terms of extra use of the pitch."
Asked whether fans would see the move as a bid to make life difficult for Hull FC at the KC Stadium – and Adam Pearson who they sacked at Hull City last year – Mr Allam said they should not.
He said: "The situation is completely the same for all tenants.
"We have not isolated them at all."
Hull FC did not wish to comment on the matter when contacted by the Mail.
Hull City managing director Nick Thompson confirmed the club had chosen to pay a "modest fee" to display club memorabilia and pictures in the stadium.