AJ Bell Stadium CosCos p.Google Earth

The acquisition would include adjacent development land. Credit: Google Earth Studio

Salford moves forward with plans to buy Peel out of AJ Bell Stadium 

The city council wants to take full control of the sports venue, as well as providing a £350,000 “rescue support” loan to Salford Red Devils, which plays its home games there. 

Next week, Salford City Council’s cabinet is due to approve a resolution to press ahead with plans to acquire Peel L&P’s 50% stake in the AJ Bell Stadium. 

Meanwhile, an urgent decision to provide the loan with a 4.66% interest rate is also due to be signed off. 

The proposed purchase of the 12,000-capacity stadium, built in 2011, is aimed at delivering “demonstrable and ongoing social value” and securing the city council’s long-term interests in any future redevelopment and regeneration of the adjacent development land, according to a cabinet report.

“While the operational costs of the stadium are broadly covered by income, operational activity has not generated the capacity to repay outstanding debt,” the report states.

Debt on the stadium currently stands at £37m. 

Read the full report and statement of intent

As well as taking control of regeneration opportunities around the ground, the acquisition is aimed at keeping rugby league side Salford Red Devils at the stadium.

The club has previously stated that the terms of its existing lease, which expires this December, are unsustainable.

However, Salford City Council’s intention to acquire the stadium means the rugby league side would stay put and sign an extended lease of up to five years.

As well as providing the aforementioned loan, the city council has tasked the rugby league club with developing a “compelling business and restructuring plan” to help it become financially sustainable.

Any Salford Red Devils lease would contain a break clause “linked to the ability for the club or the city council to terminate the lease if it became clear that Red Devils was unable to meet its financial commitments”, the report states.  

The Red Devils currently shares the ground with rugby union side Sale Sharks, which bid to buy the stadium in partnership with football club Salford City FC last year. The council and Peel declined the bid, Sale Sharks confirmed late last year. 

That deal could have seen Salford City relocate from its ground at Moor Lane in Kersal to the AJ Bell, with the Red Devils going in the opposite direction. 

Your Comments

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Great news! Note to Editor: “Salford City Council’s intention to acquire the stadium means the rugby union side…”. I think you meant the Rugby ‘League’ side.

By Wolfie

    Thanks, Wolfie! We have made that fix. Best – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

No mention of Sale Sharks in this article they are also tenants too.

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous! You’ll find that the Sharks are, in fact, mentioned towards the bottom of the article. Best – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

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