Club issues the following statement
Following last week's announcement re. the training ground the club has today issued the following statement:
"Oxford United are disappointed that Oxford City Council did not allow the football club to formally tender for the opportunity to develop the new sports complex in Horspath Road.
The new facility, which will be funded by an £4.9M payment from BMW, will be developed and managed by Fusion Lifestyle and will replace BMW’s current sports site, which is home to United’s Academy and first team training ground.
Oxford United can confirm an application by the club to join the tender process for the new facility was rejected by the City Council, who own the land.
Had Oxford United been given the opportunity to have operational control of the site it would have significantly helped the club become more sustainable.
Fusion have included a provision for the club in its planning application, but the club was not fully consulted on the facilities and what to include, before the application was submitted.
Managing Director, Greig Box Turnbull, said: “The facility is a fantastic opportunity for the city of Oxford and it is vital the model works for all stakeholders.
“We were very disappointed not to have been invited to tender for this project by Oxford City Council, as it would have helped significantly towards making the football club sustainable for years to come. The club is unable to fully commercialise the stadium, because we do not own it, and so we had hoped to secure the opportunity to generate vital income via a new training complex, in addition to having a permanent training home.
“For the club to progress and achieve Championship status, a first-class training facility is critical. We believe the football club should sit proudly at the heart of this facility, as a community asset.
“We have not yet had an opportunity to input our needs into the plans for the site, and we hope this will be high on the agenda when we get the opportunity to discuss our requirements at the new site with the Council, Fusion and BMW in the new year. We remain committed to finding a way forward that benefits all concerned.”
There is a risk the football club will be without a permanent training base for a period, while the new site is being constructed, as the existing location may not be available beyond 2017.
“We are extremely grateful for the support BMW have provided in accommodating our training needs to date,” added Greig.
“There is a serious concern that we could be without a training ground for a while and this could take place mid-season, which would cause serious disruption to the first team and the Academy. We are hopeful the City Council will support us in finding a solution to this issue.”