LEEDS United have teamed up with the club’s fans with the aim of ensuring Elland Road remains at the centre of sporting life in the city for decades to come.
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The ground has been added to Leeds City Council’s list of assets of community value following an application to the local authority by the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust.
Its new status means that, should a time ever arrive when Elland Road is put on the market, then its owner could be prevented from concluding a sale within six months unless it was to a community organisation such as the trust.
Having the status also helps protect Elland Road from demolition and stops it being used for any primary purpose other than as a football ground.
An asset of community value can even be compulsorily purchased by a council if its future is deemed to be under threat.
The trust’s application was supported by United, whose owner Andrea Radrizzani brought Elland Road back under club control over the summer.
Radrizzani has a long-term plan in place called Elland Road 2020 that includes improvements to the ground, which he repurchased for around £20m via United’s parent company, Greenfield Investment PTE Ltd.
Elland Road had been sold to Manchester-based businessman Jacob Adler for £8m in 2004 as the club’s board of the time tried to stave off financial disaster.
Trust chairman Dave Carrington said: “This is a very proud moment for Leeds fans everywhere. In addition to protecting Elland Road, Andrea Radrizzani has shown once again that he recognises the importance of working in partnership with the fans and the local community.”
United managing director Angus Kinnear said: “We congratulate the supporters’ trust for the hard work and dedication they have shown throughout this process, and we look forward to exciting times ahead for Leeds United and our supporters at Elland Road.”
A Leeds City Council report recommending the approval of Elland Road’s new status says its use furthers the “social interests and social well-being of the local community”.