OxVox statement regarding the Kassam stadium
The following statement was released today, 14 January 2017:
You will all have read the various communications from OxVox and also the recent press and programme notes from Darryl Eales regarding the stadium situation.
It is important to note that we wholeheartedly agree with Darryl’s assertion that the future sustainability and prosperity of our football club will be greatly enhanced if OUFC were able to benefit from a different stadium arrangement than the one that that is currently in place.
The above has been the case for well over a decade.
What OxVox have been carefully working on for some considerable time, in conjunction with Firoz Kassam, The City Council and professional advisors, is a long term solution to the stadium ownership issue that Darryl Eales and of course Ian Lenagan before him have been unable to resolve.
The solution that we have focused on is a plan that would see the stadium move into a form of community ownership, thereby enabling a different set of terms to be offered to the football club which would provide the opportunity to develop the stadium for the benefit of OUFC and the wider community.
We are pleased that this approach has found favour with Firoz Kassam and that he shares our view on a transition to community ownership and the benefits that could bring. We have remained professional (and confidential) in our dealings.
Darryl Eales has been kept up to speed with what we’ve been trying to do, but we perfectly understand his frustration at the length of time required to get a final proposal on the table, albeit that Firoz Kassam has confirmed to us (and publicly) his willingness to see the stadium move into community ownership.
With many moving parts and negotiations that are sensitive, this was never going to be a simple/quick transaction, but we remain confident that a set of terms will be agreed with Firoz Kassam and then that all stakeholders can come together to deliver the best plan that makes stadium ownership a reality for the future benefit of OUFC and our community.
It is hard to put a timescale on the process, but we would be disappointed if we were unable to reach a ‘Heads of Terms’ or equivalent stage before the end of the season.
With the above in mind and although there is a high degree of complexity, we will continue to communicate with all stakeholders and keep everyone updated as and when we can.
To be clear, it is not, and has never been, the OxVox intention to move a stadium project forward in ‘glorious isolation’. Like every one of us, we are fans and OUFC is a vitally important part of all of our lives.
Once an agreement has been reached, we will publicly share the details/proposal and then help bring the community together to agree the most appropriate management structure and funding, with the overriding objective of achieving a sustainable and viable, long term, stadium solution for our football club and the associated community benefits that stadium ownership would bring.