SHEFFIELD United’s decision to transfer ownership of Bramall Lane from the football club to its plc is not unusual, one leading industry insider told The Star last night.
A letter outlining details of the plan caused alarm among some supporters when it was circulated to shareholders earlier this week.
But this newspaper understands the arrangement, which is designed to make United more attractive to potential investors, has already been successfully employed by other English teams in recent years.
Nottingham Forest, whose stadium, the City Ground, is held by the local council, were earlier this month the subject of a takeover by the Al-Hasawi family from Kuwait.
“It really is much more common that people think,” the expert, who for business reasons preferred not to be named, said. “So long as proper procedures and a framework is in place, there’s no cause for concern.”
Although United have yet to comment on the matter further, it is understood the football club will pay an insignificant sum in rent to the plc.
By removing Bramall Lane from the operating company’s control and handing it to United’s holding company, parties wishing to invest in United can do so knowing their funds will be used purely to improve team performance.
Hypothetically, it could also allow them to purchase the football club for a nominal figure while those with a stake in the plc, including minority shareholders, provide a safety barrier against property speculators similar to the pitch owners model employed by Chelsea.
While United are known to have held discussions with interested parties in the past, the communiqué insisted none are ongoing at present.