Blackburn Rovers fans group to safeguard Ewood
FANS’ group The Rovers Trust has expressed its delight after it moved to ensure Ewood Park will remain the home of Blackburn Rovers for ‘many generations to come’.
The Trust’s successful application to Blackburn with Darwen Council to make Ewood an Asset of Community Value (ACV) is aimed at safeguarding the historic ground against any potential sale.
It means should Rovers’ owners ever decide to sell the club’s home since 1890, they would have a legal obligation to inform the council and give the Trust six months to prepare and submit a bid of its own.
Although the owners would have no obligation to accept what the Trust offer – they would have to listen.
Rovers Trust executive officer Paul Brooking said: “We are delighted the council agrees with us that Ewood Park holds a special place in the local community and with the people of East Lancashire.
“Dating back more than 120 years the famous old ground has been built, rebuilt and built again under the stewardship of several philanthropic and far-sighted owners, most recently by Jack Walker.
“Blackburn Rovers fans will welcome this protection of the ground Jack Walker built for the team and for the supporters.
“Ewood Park should continue to be the home of Blackburn Rovers for many generations to come.”
Supporters’ groups from Manchester United and Liverpool have also taken advantage of a relatively new Act of Parliament to make Old Trafford and Anfield ACVs.
The Localism Act 2011 recognises football stadia as being significant to the community and adds protection for fans should any attempts be made to sell them.
Brooking, who compiled the Trust’s nomination to the council, said: “We would like to thank Blackburn with Darwen Council for the support they have shown to our nomination.
“Under the ACV status there is now a legal obligation to allow the Rovers Trust a six-month period in which to prepare and submit a bid to purchase Ewood Park.
“There is no obligation for the owners to accept such a bid but this listing does provide the Trust with time to enter the process.
“The successful listing with the council provides a significant opportunity for the local community to purchase and take control of Ewood Park should it ever be offered for sale by the owners.”
Rovers have the right to appeal against the council’s decision.
An appeal, however, is highly unlikely.
Rovers managing director Derek Shaw does not anticipate any issues.
He said: “We all know Ewood Park is an asset of community value.
“We don’t see the listing as being a problem because Ewood Park is certainly going to remain as a football stadium.”
The Rovers Trust is run as a Community Benefit Society and has the backing of Supporters Direct, the organization which enables the involvement of fans in the ownership and running of their football clubs.
Kevin Rye, of Supporters Direct, said: “The Rovers Trust should be congratulated on their work to ensure Ewood Park takes its place alongside Old Trafford and Anfield, and the first two, Oxford United and Nuneaton Town, in having stadia successfully listed.
“This and other listings confirm our view that clubs and their stadiums should be seen as community assets and not simply part of an investment portfolio.”
Comments are closed on this article.