Salford Red Devils receive response from City Mayor over desperately-needed new tenancy agreement: ‘We are working tirelessly to acquire the stadium’

Ben Olawumi
Salford Stadium Alamy

The Salford Stadium - Alamy

Salford Red Devils have tonight received a response from the city’s mayor, Paul Dennett, on the back of their recent statement about the ongoing issues with securing their home for the future.

Earlier this month, the Red Devils issued their own statement detailing – in layman’s terms – that their existence is under threat as things stand, and will continue to be unless they can acquire a new tenancy agreement for The Salford Stadium very soon.

The Greater Manchester outfit have played their home games at the venue formerly known as ‘The AJ Bell‘ since the 2012 season, moving from The Willows, which had been the club’s home for 110 years.

Rugby union outfit Sale Sharks also play at the Salford Stadium, owned jointly by Salford City Council and a company named ‘Peel’.

Salford Red Devils receive response from City Mayor over much-needed new ground deal

For the first time since that Red Devils statement, there has tonight been a response, with Mayor Dennett – via Salford City Council’s website – writing: “I was greatly concerned by the contents of Salford Red Devils recent public statement to fans, and I am sure this was echoed in the Salford Reds fan base and wider rugby league communities.

“For a 150-year-old institution, and pillar of the sport, to be facing such a precarious situation is very worrying.

“Acquiring the stadium continues to involve a painstaking amount of work.  My whole team at Salford City Council – myself, cabinet members, councillors, officers and directors of the stadium company CoSCoS – have spent many months seeking to make this happen in a highly complex and commercially sensitive environment.

“In addition to dealing with political party opposition to the published Statement of Strategic Intent and the Cabinet’s related In Principle Decision in July to acquire our remaining 50% of our city’s Community Stadium from Peel Land and Property (Red City) Limited (“Peel”).

No one should be in any doubt that the whole of Salford City Council is committed to this work, keeping residents, supporters and stakeholders up-to-speed every step of the way.

“I recognise that the club cannot continue to exist without a tenancy for next season, nor can it continue to exist indefinitely on current terms.

“The issues are clear, and within Salford City Council we are working tirelessly to acquire the stadium from our joint venture partner, Peel, which will then enable us to adopt a new lease not just for the Reds but also for their stadium co-tenant Sale Sharks.”

‘The destiny of the Reds is not simply in Salford City Council’s gift’

Though Dennett and the local council’s intentions to help the Red Devils sort this incredibly worrying situation out, he was quick to note in tonight’s statement that it isn’t a straightforward process.

The council alone aren’t able to get a new tenancy agreement over the line, with Dennett continuing: “We all know the destiny of the Reds is not simply in Salford City Council’s gift. As mentioned, we are joint owners of the stadium with Peel, and cannot make decisions without them.

The stadium is also occupied by Sale Sharks, who have been exemplary tenants providing much needed income to the stadium which has been vital to making the entire business stack up.

“The council is also bound to provide services to the public of Salford which guarantees value for money to Salford taxpayers, and must provide robust checks and balances to ensure that our investments are sound and reasonable.

“Whilst I appreciate that the club does not have indefinite time, it is also the case that the council alone cannot decide the timeframes for the necessary decisions to be taken.

“I remain determined to preserve this crucial piece of Salford’s heritage and will do whatever is in our power to ensure that this iconic Salford institution is not lost. But to achieve this we will need the continued support of the club and wider community, and we need fans to remain committed and involved, now more than ever.

“I have asked council officers to liaise with Salford Red Devils RLFC, as well as CoSCoS directors and as necessary, the Rugby Football League (RFL), to find a way forward that is satisfactory to all parties involved and does not undermine the Statement of Strategic Intent that Salford City Council agreed back in March.  ”

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