Salford Red Devils optimistic on stadium resolution as long-term future uncertain

SALFORD could start the new Super League season still seeking clarity on their long-term future at their current ground.

But the Red Devils remain hopeful that progress will be made on a Salford Council buy-out of the Salford Community Stadium in the first three months of next year – after opposition from some councillors slowed the process.

The Council currently own 50 percent of the venue, with a successful deal to purchase the other half from property group Peel Holdings, who want to sell, likely the key to a new long-term lease for the Rugby League club.

That would both enable the Red Devils to maximise revenue streams from the 12,000-capacity venue and help them in their bid to play in Super League in the IMG era.

The Red Devils, whose current lease at the stadium they have played at since 2012 after leaving their previous ground The Willows ends this week, have reportedly sounded out football clubs Manchester City, Bury and Stockport County about using their facilities.

But the strong preference is to stay at their current home, which is also used by top-flight rugby union side Sale Sharks, with both having recently met the Council to discuss rental agreements.

The Red Devils have also been in talks with the Rugby Football League, who are reportedly monitoring the club’s financial as well as stadium situation and have just released the fixtures for the 2024 Super League season, starting in mid-February.

The club said in a statement: “We have received an indication of intent for the acquisition (of the stadium by the council) to be complete within the first quarter of 2024.

“While we welcome the statement made by (Salford City) Mayor (Paul) Dennett, as well as the above, we are conscious our position remains a time-sensitive one that is currently without a resolution.

“Without this materialising imminently, we are only able to assume that we will continue to not have access to the various commercial streams we have operated towards and budgeted for over the coming months.

“Our club is more than just a team people watch. Our club is Salford’s club, owned by its community and consistently here for its community as a source of jobs, education, and health.

“Mayor Dennett has previously spoken of the importance of Salford Red Devils as a 150-year-old institution of Salford, and despite previous experiences, there is a wholehearted belief that the council will come through.

“However, as the end of our current tenancy agreement is imminent, we remain aware that any further inaction could place this at risk.

“We are optimistic following recent discussions and hope that the meetings this week offer a path to a swift resolution of critical priority, rather than serve as another example of a failed-to-materialise assurance.”