Peterborough United appear to be getting closer to buying their ground back, with the city council leader confident a deal can be reached.
The two parties are holding detailed discussions about the ABAX Stadium and surrounding land which the council bought for £8 million in 2010 from Peterborough United Holdings Limited (PUHL). The deal at the time was welcomed by Posh as it secured its future.
However, the issue was made public this week after Posh owner Darragh MacAnthony wrote on Twitter that the council had rejected a bid from the club for the stadium.
This was disputed the following morning by council leader Cllr John Holdich, before Mr MacAnthony replied that a letter which said the offer had been rejected was received from the council’s lawyers last week.
The two parties have now issued a formal statement which confirms that they are working towards a sale.
It states: “The council and club have been in detailed discussion for some time regarding the club’s potential purchase of the freehold interest in the ground.
“As with any potential asset sale these discussions are commercially sensitive. The current lease includes a mechanism that allows the club to purchase the ground.”
The statement adds: “The council is under an obligation to obtain the best value for the sale of its assets.”
Mr MacAnthony has been keen to buy the ground back, with the Peterborough Telegraph reporting in 2013 that the club was paying £500,000 a year rent. In the statement, Cllr Holdich said: “The council purchased the ground to safeguard the future of the club in Peterborough and to kickstart the regeneration of the South Bank area including the Vista development and Fletton Quays, and has invested in the stadium and Future Business Centre.
“This is a good time to look at a sale to the club and I’m confident we can do a deal, but the council has to get the best deal for the taxpayer.”
Mr MacAnthony added: “We are currently in detailed verbal and written discussion with PCC with the exchange of offer letters and information being undertaken by our respective solicitors. I am hopefully meeting with the council leaders in the coming days to further progress matters in bringing our ground back to the football club.”