Demand that Keepmoat Stadium’s finances be made public

Keepmoat Stadium.
Keepmoat Stadium.

SENIOR councillors have demanded to be told details about crisis talks over the future of Doncaster’s publicly-funded £32 million Keepmoat Stadium.

Urgent discussions have been held between Doncaster Council finance bosses and the Stadium Management Company (SMC), which runs the complex on behalf of the authority, after council documents revealed taxpayers are shelling out more than £500,000 annually to house main tenants Doncaster Rovers football club.

The stadium is expected to have lost £4 million by March, the Free Press revealed in October.

Many of the talks regarding the stadium’s finances have always been held in private, with the public kicked out of council meetings while the issue has been discussed.

But now Coun Ted Kitchen, part of the council’s regeneration and environment overview and scrutiny panel, wants more financial details released so taxpayers can be given more clarification when the committee meets again on January 31.

He said: “We need to get some more financial information that we are lacking at the present.

“The stadium is in a mess and taxpayers have been paying for it.

“We cannot keep digging into our pockets. It’s not fair when cuts are being made across the council.”

Mayor Peter Davies admitted the Keepmoat could lose £2 million this financial year alone if action was not taken.

His fears, along with the shocking financial figures, were revealed during a heated meeting at the Mansion House in October.

Members heard the financial position of the SMC has deteriorated since a £1 million overdraft guarantee was re-approved by the council in March 2011.

Colin Harker, the Keepmoat’s stadium finance manager, said measures had been taken to improve finances including asking for voluntary redundancies and reducing electricity costs.

The overview and scrutiny panel also made a number of recommendations for council and stadium bosses to discuss.

They included the mayor finding the best deal to keep the stadium open, considering the SMC form a leisure trust allowing tenants of the stadium to have a partnership status and holding an ‘open day’ for Doncaster children to see the facilities and meet with teams including Rovers.

In September the Free Press exclusively revealed the council had admitted it could offload the Keepmoat. It denied a deal had already been struck with Rovers.

The Keepmoat complex, which opened in December 2006, is also home to Doncaster Rovers Belles football club, Doncaster Rugby League Football Club and Doncaster Athletic Club.