Salford clarify stadium discussions

Salford Red Devils say discussions over where they will play in the future are developing “at pace” with a ‘stadium swap’ with Salford City Football Club a definite possibility.

Top-flight rugby union club Sale Sharks, with whom the Red Devils currently share the AJ Bell Stadium, reportedly want to join forces with Salford City to buy the venue, which is currently co-owned by CosCos (The City of Salford Stadium Community Stadium Limited), a partnership between Salford City Council and property company Peel Holdings.

Red Devils executive chairman Paul King has confirmed suggestions that the club has never been able to fulfil the rental agreement on the AJ Bell, which has hosted both rugby clubs since 2012, after it was built at a cost of £26 million.

They currently pay around a third of the £450,000 annual cost of its use for matches, training and office space, with the shortfall underpinned by the local authority.

But the agreement expires in 2023 and, going forward, would have to be renegotiated, with the Red Devils held to the agreed figure.

King has met Salford City co-owner Gary Neville, the former Manchester United player, to discuss moving to the football club’s current Moor Lane ground, known as the Peninsula Stadium, which is eight miles away and a with a capacity of 5,100, is less than half the size of the AJ Bell.

The Red Devils said in a statement: “We are currently actively engaged in positive discussions with all parties in the reported ‘stadium swap’, and we continue to strive towards the best possible outcome for Salford Red Devils.

“We are open-minded to facilitate all aspects of the ongoing dialogue as long as the best interests of the club are also considered throughout the process.

“As we understand it, there is still no finalised agreement for the purchase of the AJ Bell Stadium.

“Regarding our reported move to the Peninsula Stadium at Moor Lane, while we understand positive progress has been made between Salford City Football Club and Salford City Council, we are still yet to undertake any due diligence on the stadium.

“The conversations continue to develop at pace; however, the club recognise the need to conduct a considered evaluation of any alternative options to our tenancy at the AJ Bell Stadium, which is still contracted until the end of 2023.”

Salford will hold a forum to update fans on the stadium issue on Thursday, November 4.

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