Delay to formal Keepmoat takeover

Keepmoat Stadium.
Keepmoat Stadium.

Doncaster Rovers are still waiting to take over the running of the cash-strapped Keepmoat stadium as the much-awaited deal hits yet another delay.

Fans were told about the delay to the official handover from Doncaster Council to the club at a surprise announcement during half-time at Tuesday night’s league match against Bury.

The stadium complex, which was built with £32 million of taxpayers’ money, is currently run by a Stadium Management’s Company on the authority’s behalf, but a new deal was sought after it racked up £2.1 million losses in its six years of operation.

Originally, it was hoped that the club would be managing the day-to-day runnings of the stadium by the end of July and then by August 11, but the details of the deal are taking longer than expected to finalise.

Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin moved to assure fans this week that the deal was expected to be formally completed in the next few weeks.

He said: “The management of the Keepmoat Stadium has not yet officially passed over to Doncaster Rovers.

“Both parties remain committed to moving forward the transfer and the short delay is simply to ensure that the deal that is signed is in the best interests of both Doncaster Council and Doncaster Rovers.

“We expect the legal transfer to take place very soon and have every confidence that this will take place before the end of the month. The delay is not causing either party any concerns as we are speaking on a daily basis and we look forward to making the formal announcement once the deal in concluded.”

A ceremonial handover took place on August 11 at the League Cup game against York with Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies attending the game at the Keepmoat.

Earlier this month, members of Doncaster Council’s cabinet agreed to handover the running of the stadium for an inflation-linked rent of £100,000 a year with the club responsible for any profits or losses.

At the meeting on August 1, council finance director Simon Wiles described the deal as “virtually agreed”.

The Free Press exclusively revealed last September that the two parties were in talks about a possible takeover.