The future of Bramall Lane as the home of Sheffield United has been put into doubt.
This follows a statement from the club declaring that Kevin McCabe has failed to agree the sale of his assets to new owner, Prince Abdullah.
The High Court ruled last year that McCabe had to sell his 50 percent stake in the Blades for £5m. The Yorkshire Post reports that is far less than it is worth, with United now playing in the Premier League.
McCabe was also ordered to sell the other club properties his Scarborough Group company owns to the Saudi Prince for £50m. This includes; the Copthorne Hotel, Enterprise Centre, Junior Development Centre and some land behind the Kop. This is alongside the stadium and Shirecliffe training ground.
Yet McCabe has backed out of this deal. The statement reads: “This deal will no longer proceed as the Scarborough Companies wanted more money and more concessions from the Club than they agreed initially.”
What about Bramall Lane?
The club has warned they have to close Copthorne Hotel until they can find an operator. But there are also concerns about the future of Bramall Lane.
“The Club will take all necessary steps to ensure that Bramall Lane remains the long-term home of SUFC,” the statement continues.
“We will also vigorously defend any claims put forward by SUL, including the outrageous suggestion put forward in the litigation that the price that SUL wants the Club to pay for the Stadium should be on the assumption that SUFC leaves Bramall Lane with the site being developed for residential housing.”
Bramall Lane has been the home of the Blades since they were established in 1889. A former cricket ground, it actually predates United by 34 years.
There would be huge opposition to any suggestion that the club moves from the site. But there are also ramifications in the short-term.
Firstly, they may have to postpone plans to remove the poles at the Kop which restrict the view of some fans. Also, there are also claims that McCabe’s company plan to build apartments on the land behind the stand. If this were to happen, it would also limit access to supporters.
As a result, the club say they have “no alternative but to resort to arbitration”. This means there is likely to be another court battle.