Glazers Dealt Blow as Old Trafford Listed as Asset of Community Value

August 1, 2013

The Glazer family, owners of Manchester United, suffered a setback yesterday after Trafford Council approved an application to have the club’s home stadium,Old Trafford, listed as an asset of community value.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) made the application to have Old Trafford listed in April, in order to protect the future of the famous stadium, which is affectionately known as the “Theatre of Dreams”.

The club opposed the nomination, a move believed to be motivated by fears it would negatively affect the club’s share price on the New York Stock Exchange.

The listing presents a major obstacle to the Glazers, or any future owners, if they wish to sell the stadium. The granting of the application means that MUST will receive a six-month period if the owners decide to sell, during which they can halt the sale and offer community groups the chance to bid.

Manchester United do reserve the right to appeal the decision.

Following the application’s success, a Manchester United club statement said: “The club has received the decision by Trafford Council. 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 £90m 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.”

“Restricts the control”

Steven Falk, Director at Star Sports Marketing, exclusively told iSportconnect: “The Glazers may be irritated by the listing in that it restricts the control they can exert over their asset register and hence the potential value they realise from a future sale of the club.”

The former Manchester United director of marketing also spoke on the implications the news may have for any future naming rights deal: “This is not a big issue for the Glazers on the basis that:

1. they have publicly stated their intention not to sell the naming rights to Old Trafford

2. there is relatively  little value in selling naming rights to such a well established stadium. It is noticeable how few reporters are referring to the club’s newly sponsored training facility at Carrington as the ‘Aon Training Centre.'”

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