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Yorkshire side respond to reports of unpaid rent and offers stadium update

Halifax Panthers stadium the Shay

The Halifax Panthers board have provided an update on the situation surrounding The Shay stadium.

In January, there were fears that the Panthers could lose the stadium, due to the local council looking to lower costs by disposing of the stadium. Since then further issues have emerged with reports that the club were also behind on their rent.

Those reports were confirmed when local paper The Halifax Courier shared figures uncovered via a Freedom of Information request, revealing that the Panthers owed over £53,000 whilst the town’s football club owed figures of just over £4,000.

It was a hot topic for the club to address at their recent fan forum and the minutes from that event have since revealed what the club’s Chairman, CEO and Directors had to say, with club coach Liam Finn also in attendance too.

What Halifax Panthers have said about their stadium situation?

1895 Cup winners Halifax Panthers

Credit: Imago Images

Halifax Panthers addressed a number of such topics, whilst also speaking on the general status of rugby league with minutes from that event are available here but on the stadium acquisition status, they spoke in more detail.

It was revealed: “We are sitting down with the council, FC Halifax Town, and David Bosomworth has been proactive in questions for the Council.

“Due Diligence is still ongoing for all parties. Until done, no firm plans can be submitted.”

“The next meeting will be in early June, while they hope to have a follow-up meeting later.”

They described a potential takeover of the stadium as something that would be a “game-changer for both clubs” – themselves and Halifax Town FC, whilst adding they’re open other revenue streams, as well as other inward-investment opportunities too.

Chairman Dave Grayson said: “There’s an opportunity for the acquisition of the stadium. We’re working hard behind the scenes to see what that looks like moving forward.

“Lots and lots of due diligence going on behind the scenes there, but what a fantastic opportunity for this club.”

Rent arrears discussed with central funding a major contributor

Credit: Imago Images

After those reports about Halifax Panthers being in rent arrears, there was plenty of interest in an update on the situation. Whilst it was addressed, the club were keen to reference the general status of rugby league and the lack of wealth in the sport.

The club only earned £100,000 in distribution money last year, which they expected to be £140,000, and this is far lower than the £750,000 they made during the era of the Middle 8s.

By contrast, they claimed that Super League sides are awarded around £1.5 million in central funding, leaving a huge gap which would be an understandable factor regarding London Broncos failing to spend up to the salary cap this season.

For Halifax Panthers though,it’s led to chat about rent arrears but the club have now staunchly denied that as they instead referenced “incorrectly interpreted headlines” and “historical decisions”.

Their summary read: “Historical decisions mean rent was backed up alongside lots of other obligations. Calderdale Council have been very supportive and understand. We’ve agreed a payment plan which has now started which means that existing rent is paid, plus extra to pay down the arrears.

“Headlines have been incorrectly interpreted as not paying rent for over 12 months, not correct. Payments have been made, but they were allocated to older invoices.”

It was then also clarified for any reassurance that Calderdale Council’s budget far exceed the reported rent arrears meaning that there will not be any delay in work on the ground.

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