Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC has been listed as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ by Liverpool City Council. Fans’ group, Spirit of Shankly (SoS) welcomed the decision after making the application in April this year. The listing now means Liverpool fans will be given the opportunity to purchase the stadium should the club’s current owners wish to sell.
A statement released on Friday (23rd August) by SoS read, “The Liverpool Supporters’ Union have today received official notification from Liverpool City Council that Anfield has been listed as an Asset of Community Value. This follows our application in April for Anfield to be listed.”
As part of the 2011 Localism Act is the Community Right to Bid, the listing gives the community the right to bid for Assets of Community Value and was introduced with the aim of keeping valued land and buildings, including football stadiums, in community use and to give communities a fairer chance to prepare and bid to purchase them when they come up for sale.
Applications are made to local councils who then make a decision themselves on whether to list an asset as being of community value. It does not matter if these assets are in public or private hands. In this instance, that group is the Liverpool Supporters’ Union and the asset is the stadium, held privately.
An asset can be listed provided it meets the requirements of the act which states that any “asset can be listed if its principal use furthers (or has recently furthered) their community’s social well-being or social interests (which include cultural, sporting or recreational interests)”. The use of Anfield as a sporting venue, which supporters attend as recreation, as well as the stadium’s history and heritage, fulfil these requirements.
“We are delighted with the decision and that the City Council have recognised the importance of Anfield to supporters and to the local community,” the statement continued.
“We would like to place on record our thanks to those who have assisted us and advised us throughout this process, most notably Supporters Direct who have been an excellent source of advice, knowledge and information.
“We would encourage all supporters of other clubs to look to utilise this legislation to ensure the protection of their football clubs and stadia.
Supporters Direct’s Head of England, Tom Hall, also welcomed the news which follows Manchester City Council’s decision to list Old Trafford, home of Manchester United as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ last month, stating, “This is great news for Spirit of Shankly, the Supporters Trust Movement, and for Supporters Direct.
“Two of the great homes of fan culture, Old Trafford and Anfield, have joined Oxford United and Nuneaton Town’s grounds in being protected.
“These successful listings are demonstrating that our premise that clubs and their stadiums should be seen as community assets and not simply as part of an investment portfolio is beginning to be accepted.” [Source: FC Business]