Leeds United have welcomed a move by fans to safeguard the future of Elland Road.
Leeds United Supporters’ Trust has been successful in registering the stadium as an Asset of Community Value with Leeds City Council.
The move means the ground cannot be sold without LUST being notified and given first refusal to buy it on behalf of fans.
The club bought back Elland Road from a private landlord in June, 13 years after being forced to sell it to help clear massive debts.
“Elland Road is historic and has been at the heart of the community in Leeds since before the football club was founded,” said Leeds managing director Angus Kinnear.
“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.”
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani, who took full control of the club in May, delivered on his promise to buy back Elland Road from Manchester property developer Jacob Adler earlier this year.
The ground had been sold to Adler, who still owns Leeds’ Thorp Arch training complex, for £8million in 2004 when the club negotiated a 25-year lease agreement.
Radrizzani was reported to have paid in the region of £20m, while the club no longer pays £1.7m in annual rent.
LUST 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.
“Leeds United Football Club, its fans and Leeds City Council all agree on the magnitude and emotional value of Elland Road, and this is now formally recognised and legally recorded in the AoCV”.
Radrizzani plans to redevelop the land around the stadium, the club’s home since it was formed in 1919, and has been in talks with Leeds City Council about a three-year project, ‘Elland Road 2020’, which includes a new training ground in the city centre.
Leeds City Council leader, councillor Judith Blake, said Elland Road held an important place in the hearts of fans and the city as a whole.
“This will ensure that Leeds supporters represented by the Trust would be able to have their say in the future destiny of Elland Road, which as the heartbeat of the club is vitally important,” she added.
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