Manchester news Battle for AJ Bell Stadium as Sale Sharks 'make serious move' Manchester united news
MetiNews.Com - The AJ Bell Stadium is currently owned by Salford council and Peel
Breaking News ! Sale Sharks have made a "serious" offer to buy the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford, the Manchester Evening News understands. The move has triggered controversy as the ground, where the Sharks are already based, is also the home of Salford Red Devils rugby league team. The Reds are planning to make their own bid in response. There is also speculation that Salford City FC are interested in playing at the 12,000 capacity stadium, next to the M60 at Barton. A council source told the M.E.N. : "This time it is a serious bid by Sale Sharks. But at the moment it is a verbal offer and things are at a very early stage." The ground is currently jointly owned by Salford council and property and land giant Peel. In a statement, Peter Openshaw, interim strategic director of the place directorate at Salford council said: "We are aware of rumours, but no decision has been taken over whether to sell the AJ Bell stadium or on any terms of sale. "We can confirm that the stadium company (CosCos) has been approached in respect of the potential sale of the stadium. "In addition, there are ongoing proactive conversations between the council and the management of the Salford Red Devils on the stadium and safeguarding the future of the club. "The council has been integral in supporting Salford Red Devils and rugby league in the city for many years and we continue to do this in any way that we can. Previous actions - including payment holidays on rent and loan support - have stabilised the club and provided time for their board to make longer term plans for its future. Sale Sharks in action at the AJ Bell Stadium last month (Image: PA) "Recognising the approach that has been made to CosCos on the sale of the stadium, the Red Devils are also preparing a proposal for the purchase of the stadium for consideration. There are no timescales on any of these discussions and all offers will be discussed on their own merits - with no guarantee that the stadium company CosCos will agree a sale at the end of them. "The stadium is owned via a 50-50 management partnership so the council is not the sole party in any decision. "Should a future decision be taken on the sale of the stadium, the council will be seeking reassurance for commitments for Salford Red Devils." Paul King, Salford Red Devils executive chairman, said: “We appreciate the historic and ongoing support provided by Salford City Council in what we and our fantastic fans will clearly identify as a challenging period for the club off the pitch in the last few years. Read More Related Articles An enormous festival-style outdoor venue is being built in Manchester city centre Read More Related Articles An outdoor 'beach club' is opening in Manchester city centre next week “The club has recently been made aware of a proposal for the acquisition of the stadium.
. “However, we must also look at extending our tenancy at the AJ Bell stadium, safeguarding our future at our ground in the City of Salford, regardless of ownership. We appreciate the council stating their ‘reassurance for commitments for Salford Red Devils’ upon any sale. “Our current tenancy agreement is simply unsustainable for the club and we have been seeking a new deal on terms that we can afford. CosCos have supported the club with rental payment arrangements in recent seasons, we hope that we can strike a new agreement that allows both parties a mutually sustainable level. “Any ownership changes to the stadium that increases our rent above what is financially viable for the club would be devastating.
Salford Red Devils playing Warrington Wolves at the AJ Bell Stadium
(Image: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
“We and the council must work together now to keep Salford Red Devils in Salford. These sentiments have been strongly shared by the Mayor and members of Salford City Council and we are hopeful that this joint resolve will conclude with a positive outcome for Salford Red Devils remaining at the AJ Bell Stadium. “The club will provide a further statement should any significant developments arise. As always, I am personally grateful, as is everyone at the club, for the fantastic support of our fans and fellow Salfordians.” Sale Sharks have been approached for comment. On the future of the stadium, another council source said: "There is speculation that Salford City FC may also be interested in using the AJ Bell."
Salford City FC are currently on the fringes of the play-off places in League Two of the Football League. Promotion would certainly increase the need for a big ground than their existing home, on Moor Lane, Kersal. Sale have played at the AJ Bell since 2012 and announced in 2018 that they would move grounds if the owners would not sell to them. In September last year controversial plans to build a massive new stadium and sports village in Trafford for the Sharks were dropped after the council said it would not support them following a public outcry. Proposals for the ground included investment of around £100m. The premiership team would have moved to Crossford Bridge playing fields. The union side played at Heywood Road in Sale between 1905 and 2003, before moving to Edgeley Park, home of Stockport County, and then the AJ Bell stadium.
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Source = MetiNews.Com