Salford owner Marwan Koukash has confirmed that he will step down from the club with a board of trustees lined up to take over.
Koukash saved the Red Devils from going under when he took charge in 2013 and has continued to splash the cash throughout his tenure.
However, the flamboyant millionaire has been caught up in numerous controversies including a six-point deduction for salary cap breaches in 2016.
Gareth O’Brien’s sudden death drop-goal saved Salford from relegation last season and despite improved fortunes in 2017, the club have still struggled to attract fans to the AJ Bell Stadium.
A statement released by Koukash this morning reads: “The club has come a long way during my tenure since arriving in 2013 when it was in a perilous position. This year has seen the club have its most successful season in Super League, not just on the field but off it in the way it has shaped its business and financial position.
“Under a young local coach, we have seen a team of quality, proven Super League players finish fourth in the regular season and take part in a closely fought semi-final of the Challenge Cup. Off-field, under the guidance of a former Club player as our CEO, we have managed to reduce the operating losses to 20 percent of those in 2014 which has stabilised the club at this time.
“Moving forward I strongly believe that the additional investment in recruitment towards the end of last season, combined with an off season in which the coaches can prepare, we will see the team improve further and genuinely compete for a top four finish and an equally successful Cup run.
“I further believe that commercial decisions I have recently taken, combined with the business partnerships and arrangements I have already secured will, with the strong support of the local community who buy season tickets and regularly attend games, means that the club can become self sufficient.
“As I have always said, I am merely a custodian of the club, which will always be bigger than any individual who owns it, and will continue longer than any one person can run it. To this end the club, quite rightly, must always belong to the fans and the local community of Salford. I will continue to hold very high regard for our fans and the wider community supporting us and because of this have rejected lucrative offers to relocate or rebrand the club because I have seen that there is an overwhelming passion from the fans to retain the Salford name.
“I have now instructed my legal team, subject to RFL approval, to establish a trust to take ownership of the club for the benefit of the fans and the local community of Salford. I will appoint a board of trustees to include local Salford businessmen and a representative of the fans to be elected by the season ticket holders, which will ensure the fans have a prominent voice in the running of the club. I am confident that the new structure at the Club under the guidance of the Trustees will see the Club continue to make progress on and off the pitch.
“During my time running the club I have faced many challenges which I have met head on and I, along with my family, have had many great times, creating very fond memories and friendships that will stay with us. I have genuinely grown to absolutely love the game of Rugby League and the Red Devils and still care deeply about it. My decision is nothing to do with the operation of the game or the RFL, with whom during my time I have challenged but also enjoyed a fantastic working relationship, especially during 2017 and they have my ongoing respect. I look forward to joining our loyal supporters and all my friends when i visit in the grandstands at the stadium next season.”