Oyston welcomes ‘toothless’ stadium plan

Bloomfield Road
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Karl Oyston has welcomed plans by a fans’ group to safeguard Bloomfield Road but the chairman insists he has no intention of selling the ground.

SISA (Seasiders Independent Supporters Association) have lodged an application with Blackpool Council to make the Seasiders’ stadium an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act of 2011, though Oyston described the legislation as “toothless”.

If the application succeeds, the club’s owners would have to inform the local authority of any plans to sell the stadium.

Once the stadium was up for sale, a community interest group (such as SISA) which expressed an interest in bidding would be granted six months to put their bid together before the ground could be sold to anyone else.

Oyston welcomes the sentiment behind the plans but told The Gazette: “I think the legislation is quite good, I like it. Unfortunately it’s absolutely toothless.

“It doesn’t protect the destination of any asset beyond a six-month period.

“I think people shouldn’t get too excited about this. It doesn’t really change anything.

“It doesn’t prevent us from selling the stadium to whoever we want, but there is absolutely no intention of us selling the commercial property or the trading football club.

“Even if a community group did raise funds and make a credible offer, it can be turned down anyway.”

The application was the brainchild of SISA chairman Tim Fielding, who told The Gazette: “It’s all about transparency as far as we are concerned.

“While the football club seems on a safe footing at the moment, no-one knows what will happen in the future.

“While Karl Oyston says it doesn’t change anything, we feel it does. It means supporters would know if future owners had plans to sell the club.”

SISA was founded last year as an independent voice for Blackpool supporters.

Some fans have dismissed SISA’s latest move as a publicity stunt but Fielding denies this.

“As a new group we have been criticised for not doing much, so we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” he added.

“This is something we have been planning for two or three months now and we feel it is of real benefit to the football club.” But Oyston added: “The people behind this are deluding themselves if they think this will give them control over the stadium. It won’t.

“There’s nothing to stop us selling. It would just mean a six-month delay. We’d still be free to sell to whoever we want. So there’s nothing which will particularly change anything.”