Councillors are planning to strike a deal over the running of the Liberty Stadium in the coming months, with the current structure no longer fit for purpose according to council leaders.
Swansea council built the £27m stadium where Swansea City FC and the Ospreys RFC have played since 2005. However, due to the success of the clubs, changes need to be made with regards to its upkeep.
Swansea City’s new American owners have reportedly held unofficial talks with the council, seeing official discussions over a new lease to begin on Thursday. Wanting to lease the ground and explore other commercial opportunities such as naming rights and expansions plans, it seems their continued participation in the Premier League is supporting such ambitions. Ospreys are also Wales’ most successful club since the start of regional rugby, meaning finances have somewhat changed since the 2005.
Currently, the clubs pay a peppercorn rent to Swansea Stadium Management Company (SSMC), an organisation running the stadium which is a partnership between the council and the two clubs.
Council leader Rob Stewart said last week the SSMC structure was “not fit for purpose anymore” due to the success and growth of the Welsh clubs.
“The council’s ambition is to secure the best value for the people of Swansea from any future arrangements,” said Mr Stewart.
“The current arrangements are not viable long term and do nothing to give the clubs the freedom they need to grow and succeed commercially or give the taxpayers a return on the investment made when the stadium was built – that’s the balance the negotiations will try to achieve.”
With many aspects of the deal already being discussed, a decision over the running of the stadium is expected to be arrived at prior to the council elections this May.