Uncertainty over Wakefield’s Belle Vue future

The owners of Belle Vue say that no agreement is in place for Wakefield to play at the ground in 2018.

Back in September, details of a new stadium development were revealed to safeguard the club’s future in the city, however talks have collapsed over recent weeks.

Wakefield Council say this is down to the club’s owners “unworkable” demands and they now plan to proceed with the new stadium development without the club.

However, with Trinity having given notice to quit the Belle Vue site in December 2017 back in February, the ground’s owners, 88m Group, say this notice has not been rescinded and no contact has been made by the club to negotiate a different position.

This, according to the owners, means that no deal is in place for Wakefield to play at Belle Vue in 2018, despite the announcement of Super League fixtures earlier this week.

Manni Hussain, Chairman of 88m Group, said: “I have asked the club to clarify their intentions as I am aware that they are selling tickets to fans for games at Belle Vue beyond the date the club have indicated they wish to leave the ground.

“My greatest concern is for the fans, as the club have put no agreement in place and fans are paying out their hard earned money for games that we cannot facilitate at Belle Vue – unless the club make these necessary arrangements.”

In a statement on the council website, Deputy Leader of Wakefield Council, Cllr Denise Jeffery, revealed plans to go ahead with a new community facility and deliver a “first-class sporting and entertainment stadium for all our residents.”

The statement also said: “The club were offered all income on match days, including all ticket sales, all banquet, restaurant and bars and hospitality boxes. The club would have priority use of the stadium for match days and full access to the ticket office, bars, restaurants and changing facilities along with day-to-day access to the fitness centre and physiotherapy suite.

“However, last week the owners submitted their own ‘heads of terms’ for the deal which insisted they retain sole control over the community stadium’s income and operations, whilst still offering nothing towards the capital costs of the development and refusing to pay a normal commercial rent.”

It is the second statement that the council has issued regarding the statement in recent weeks.

Following the previous statement, on October 25, Wakefield Trinity issued a brief statement acknowledging the press release and that the club’s owners will be taking legal advice before making any further comment.

No comment has followed. The club has once again been approached for comment.

Trinity are due to play their first home game of the 2018 Super League season against Salford on Friday February 9, live on Sky Sports.

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