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Council and Swans agree lease for Liberty Stadium

SWANSEA Council has handed over operational control of the Liberty Stadium to Swansea City AFC in a deal which will see the authority receiving an annual income from the ground for the first time.

Swansea Council Logo (Portrait)

It will see the Premier League club pay annual rent to the council as well as providing a share of any money from the stadium naming rights. The Swans will also commit to building 3G sports pitches in communities in Swansea as part of its arrangements with the Premier League.

The changes took place yesterday, February 16, at the Liberty Stadium in an arrangement that will benefit the football club, the Ospreys and the council for years to come.

The council-owned stadium, which was built in 2005, had been run by a tripartite agreement between the council, the Swans and the Ospreys - all of whom have representation through the mutually controlled Swansea Stadium Management Company (SSMC).   

As part of the new agreement, the football club now has have sole control of SSMC and the stadium in the future. The agreement would also:

* Allow the council to begin receiving direct revenue from the stadium for the first time ever through guaranteed rental payments

* Give the Swans the ability to control its own destiny and stay competitive with other Premier League clubs by tapping into new revenue streams at the stadium 

* Allow the Ospreys to continue playing at the stadium on a long-term lease.

Rob Stewart, Council Leader, said: "This is great news for all concerned. For the first time the council tax payers of Swansea will see a return in the investment they made in the Liberty stadium.

"This is a deal that benefits both the Swans, Ospreys by providing them with the freedom to commercial the stadium, and the council tax payers who will not only receive an income, but also additional money from any stadium naming rights and shirt sponsor deals will help deliver new 3G pitches across the authority."

Swans majority shareholders Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien expressed their delight at the agreement which would put the club firmly in control of its own destiny - on and off the pitch.

"This deal is a hugely important step towards the sustainability of Swansea City Football Club and certainly begins a pathway to stadium expansion, which we have always said was a key part of our plan for the club."

Levien added: "I'd like to pay tribute to Chris Pearlman and everybody at the club who have worked tirelessly in getting this deal over the line. 

"This is the realisation of months of planning and work that allows the football club to take control of its destiny. We want to give Swansea City the greatest chance of success and the option to potentially expand and allow more people the ability to come to games is a major leap towards that goal."

Chris Pearlman, Swansea City's Chief Operating Officer, said: "We believe this agreement will help push the club forward by tapping into new revenue streams at the stadium. 

"It will now allow us to be more active in exploring the likes of stadium expansion, naming rights, sponsorship, catering revenue and enhancing supporters' matchday experiences."

A unique component of the new arrangement is a commitment by the football club to fund the construction of two new 3G pitches in Swansea every five years for community use.  Now that the agreement is in place the club will begin to focus on moving this initiative forward.

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