BOSSES at Castleford Tigers have struck a £50m deal to sell their current ground to a supermarket developer and pump the cash into building a new home.
The deal will see the Wheldon Road Probiz Coliseum sold off and developed into a “large format food store”.
Club chief Richard Wright, in an open letter to fans, said Opus Land (North) Ltd and its financial partner Palmer Capital are working with the Tigers to get the scheme approved and talks have already been held with both Wakefield Council and major retailers.
The agreement now means the Super League side’s new 13,300-capacity stadium at Glasshoughton should be finished in time for the 2013 season – a delay to the previously mooted 2012 date.
Wakefield Council’s planning chiefs are due to decide on proposals for the new ground on April 7.
Mr Wright, Castleford Tigers chief executive said: “We are in a very fortunate position to own the land at our current facility. The Probiz Coliseum is the club’s largest single financial asset and our business plan has always been to identify the sale and future usage that would provide the greatest financial return to fund the new stadium development.
“In extremely challenging economic conditions with land values at an all time low, the sale of Wheldon Road and construction of a new stadium is challenging. It makes no sense to rush through the sale of our biggest asset at a vastly reduced price. However the revised agreement announced today would enable the club to acquire all the necessary funding to deliver a new stadium the fans deserve, and to build it in a single phase.”
The club is in the process of finalising its 2012 Super League licence application with a view to securing its future in the top flight.
Mr Wright added: “I fully appreciate the fans will be disappointed that our move to Glasshoughton will be delayed. However we anticipate our current facilities at the Probiz Stadium will be reviewed favourably, and will be complemented by our advanced plans to move to a new stadium within the next licensing period.”