Leeds United stadium loan refused

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Council bosses have refused a request from Leeds United for financial support for the club’s ground redevelopment plans.

United were due to receive a loan of up to £20m from Leeds City Council to help with the cost of renovations at Elland Road if England had got the nod to host the 2018 World Cup.

That arrangement lapsed when the country’s bid for the tournament was turned down – but shortly afterwards United confirmed they had approached the local authority asking it to resurrect its loan backing for the stadium scheme.

Now, though, it has emerged that the council has rejected the club’s appeal for support.

The authority has, however, agreed to contribute up to £500,000 towards the cost of a realignment of Lowfields Road, which runs alongside Elland Road’s East Stand.

Moving the road would create space for United’s proposed extension of the stand to include a hotel and leisure complex.

The hotel and leisure scheme got planning consent in 2009 but a date has yet to be set for the start of construction work.

Separate renovations to the East Stand this summer have not required any realignment of Lowfields Road.

A spokesman for the council said today: “After careful consideration, the council did not feel that it could offer a loan to support the redevelopment of Elland Road.

“However, the council has approved up to £500,000 as a contribution towards the shared cost of diverting Lowfields Road.”

Elland Road was one of 12 English grounds earmarked by the Football Association as provisional venues for 2018 World Cup games.

Plans were drawn up to increase the stadium’s capacity from 39,450 to 50,000 in the hope the soccer extravaganza was coming to England.

United said they remained committed to their ground expansion plans following last December’s announcement that the 2018 tournament would be held in Russia.

It is understood that any money loaned by the council to Leeds would have been primarily intended for stadium capacity increases, rather than the East Stand hotel and leisure development.

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