Trafford Borough Council made a landmark decision last week in which Manchester United's supporters group received an approval from to make its Old Trafford stadium an asset of community value, reducing the chances of a possible stadium move in the future.
The decision – which was happily met by the Manchester United Supporter’s Trust (MUST) – means that the venue cannot be used for any other purpose for the foreseeable future other than United’s home ground.
It was back in April, that the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) launched an attempt to guarantee the continued existence of the club’s 103-year-old stadium by appealing for Old Trafford to be registered by Trafford Council as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ under the ‘Assets of Community Value Regulations of the Localism Act (2011)’.
In essence what it means is that in the eevnt that current owners the Glazer family want to sell the ground or move the club to another stadium, MUST would be given a six-month period in which to act against the proposed sale and could also bid for the stadium. This has prompted the club to request the council for a review of the legislation.
It is the first time this legislaton has been used in respect of a football stadium and it will be interesting to see how this impacts in other instances.
A club statement issued after the decison was made public said:
“Old Trafford is, of course, a special place; it is the heart and soul of the club. The club obviously sees it the same way, which is why over the last eight years it has demonstrated its commitment to Old Trafford by spending around £90 million upgrading its facilities and it will continue that investment in the future.
“We do have concerns that the legislation is not being applied correctly which could set a precedent throughout the country. Therefore, we have asked the council to follow the statutory review process to ensure the legislation is being applied as intended and we shall continue to keep open communication with the council.”