South Somerset District Council now officially own Huish Park football stadium as a £2.8m deal has been agreed. The local authority announced today (20 May) that it has completed a purchase and leaseback transaction of Yeovil Town Football Club ground and surrounding land.
The council’s district executive committee approved the purchase “as part of a proposal to not only ease financial pressures on the club, but also to benefit communities in the district,” a statement said. The capital budget and its funding, totaling £2.8 million, was approved by the local authority in February 2022.
The 9,565 capacity stadium and surrounding facilities will now be leased to Yeovil Town Football Club. The council stressed that it will not own or become a shareholder in the football club, but said that “Yeovil Town FC have become council tenants”.
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A statement from the board read: “The club’s short-term financial problems were caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with crowds initially prevented from attending National League games for public safety and then continuing to attend. be limited by Covid-19 restrictions.As the club sought to reduce its cost base, the remaining costs led to significant financial problems.
“The club contacted South Somerset District Council about the difficulties it faced during the pandemic in the autumn of 2020. Our officers have been exploring options which have benefited both the club and the residents of South Somerset .
“The proposal gives YTFC the option to buy back the land the club will occupy in the future when its financial prospects improve. Although the proposal was accepted in December 2020, the status of the registered property as two valuable assets community meant there was a pause in the buying process while the legal process was followed.
“The transaction that has been completed gives the club a chance to improve its prospects for recovery and the structure of the agreement allows the club to continue to seek development potential at the Huish Park site, in order to secure its position at SSDC in turn helps promote these important ambitions while the council revenue budget rekindles a new stream of net income from rentals.
Council Leader Val Keitch said: “This is an important agreement and it is certainly not a decision we have taken lightly. However, we strongly believe it is in the best interest of South Somerset and its communities YTFC is the only professional football club in Somerset and it makes a significant contribution both to the local economy and more broadly in terms of community, education and local civic pride.
“This includes the community impact of the club’s charity, the Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust, which strives to make a positive difference for all through sport and learning for thousands of local people through its working with local schools and its own football schools.”
John Clark, holder of the portfolio for economic development, added: “It is important to remember that it is not the intention or desire of the board to play a role in the management of the football club, which will remain the shareholder matter Our interest is to help the survival of the club, generate new rental income, while protecting our taxpayers from loss or excessive risk.
“I would like to thank our officers who have worked so diligently to ensure that we protect taxpayers from harm while working successfully to support Yeovil Town Football Club.”