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Liberty Stadium profits up but there's still no pay-out for council

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: August 19, 2014

The Liberty Stadium.

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PROFITS have soared at the company that runs the Liberty Stadium, but questions are being asked why Swansea Council is not receiving a share of them.

The latest accounts for Swansea Stadium Management Company (SSMC), which is represented on its board by the council, Swansea City FC and the Ospreys, reveal a £269,662 profit for the year ending May 31, 2013, compared to a £159,891 profit in the year previously.

The share-holding council receives a peppercorn rent for the stadium and does have a right to a dividend in profitable SSMC years.

But the division of profits is set out in a joint venture agreement between the three parties, which states that no dividend shall be paid if SSMC's board of directors are not satisfied that there will be sufficient funds remaining to pay for reasonable stadium maintenance and repairs costs.

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In addition, SSMC has accumulated losses despite the recent upturn in its finances.

The Post has been told that, as well as the council, neither the football club or rugby club have received a share of any profits over the years.

The council funded the £27 million building and had hoped that some of this outlay would be re-couped by redeveloping the Vetch Field site.

The joint venture agreement also said there must be unanimous agreement between all shareholders before any dividends were paid, and that this was to ensure the council could be satisfied that the repairs' kitty was sufficiently in the black.

Councillor Rob Stewart, cabinet member for finances, has said he will look into the rental arrangements at the Liberty Stadium. He was quizzed on this topic at full council this week by a member of the public, Tony Beddow, who also asked why the Landore stadium was not on the council's asset register.

Labour's Mr Stewart said: "There may be options in the near future, and we may be able to seek a better return than there currently is, but we are not at liberty to go into at the moment.

"But under severe financial restraints everything is under review and that includes the Liberty Stadium deal.

"The agreement is in place by the last (Liberal Democrat-led) administration. I am not sure if we had been in power at the time we would have signed up."

He added: "The lease it (the council) has with the Liberty Stadium is difficult to dispose of, so it is not easy to come to a financial value of what it should be. We focused on assets we could get a return on and they are on the register."

Richard Youle / richard.youle@swwmedia.co.uk / @YoulePost

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  • KP287  |  August 19 2014, 9:28PM

    To be honest as a council tax payer I am ****** off at The Swans and Ospreys paying a peppercorn rent, The Swans made 15million nett profit 2012/2013. Pay up both teams, and the council can grow a pair and make them pay up....

  • Zoomer  |  August 19 2014, 5:05PM

    The football club is making profits, how about the Council Taxpayers receiving a share of that instead. If the football club don't agree, they can move out and build their own football club.