Manchester United back down in fight over decision to list Old Trafford as an 'Asset of Community Value'
The ruling appears to safeguard United's stadium
Tuesday 24 September 2013
Manchester United have withdrawn their request for a review into Trafford Council's decision to list Old Trafford as an Asset of Community Value.
United have notified Trafford Council of their U-turn, which has been celebrated by opponents of the Glazer family, who own the club, as they believe it will safeguard the use of Old Trafford for community use.
"We're delighted that the owners have taken the decision to back down over their opposition to the listing of Old Trafford as an Asset of Community Value," said Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters Trust.
"This shows that supporters, when they are well advised and well organised by their supporters' trust, can win even against owners with far greater resources and with the club machine at their disposal.
"We hope this will offer further encouragement to the supporters' trusts at other clubs and indeed provide extra impetus to Government to push forward boldly with meaningful reform of football to encourage greater participation by supporters in ownership of their clubs."
Effectively, it means should United ever decide to relocate from their home since 1910, they would have to offer it for sale back to the community.
Although there has been no suggestion United have ever considered a future away from Old Trafford, MUST feel it prevents the Glazers from selling the land to any private company, even on the basis of United continuing to play there.
For their part, the Red Devils feel it has turned into a pointless discussion as their understanding of the situation is that United could still move, and sell the stadium, but only after offering local clubs the opportunity to pay full market rates for it first.
They also contend that, in this instance, Manchester United as a football club is the community asset and without them, Old Trafford is merely bricks and mortar.
That is a debatable point given the history of the stadium, although if no team played there, it would evidently not have a worthwhile function.
"This process was never about leaving Old Trafford," said the club in a statement.
"While we maintain it is a wholly inaccurate interpretation of the law, after further investigation, we do not believe the decision to name Old Trafford an Asset of Community Value has any meaningful impact on the club.
"As a result, there seemed little point in engaging in a long, drawn-out legal process just to demonstrate a point.
"The club is proud to have called Old Trafford home for over 100 years.
"It's commitment is reflected in the £90million spent upgrading Old Trafford's facilities over the last eight years and this investment will continue as we look to ensure that it remains our home for many years to come."
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