The new owners of Leeds United have agreed a deal to buy back the English soccer club’s Elland Road Stadium, 13 years after the historic ground was sold to Teak Commercial Limited.
Leeds’ parent company, Greenfield Investment Pte Ltd, made the announcement on Wednesday, ensuring the club would own their home stadium for the first time since 2004.
Buying back the venue was identified as a top priority for new club chairman Andrea Radrizzani, the Italian businessman who took full control of the Championship side through his Aser Group holding company in May.
Sportsmail reports the deal with British Virgin Islands-based Teak Commercial Limited is worth UK£20 million (US$26 million).
“Today is an important day in our history and a proud day for me and my team,” Radrizzani said in a statement.
“When I met with both management and supporters during my first few months at the club, the purchase of Elland Road was very high on their list of priorities and I'm delighted to be able to announce that we have completed that process today.”
Elland Road has been home to Leeds since 1919. It was sold for UK£8 million in 2004 during a period of financial turmoil at the former Premier League club, who subsequently dropped to the third tier of English soccer.
It is understood the deal to buy back the ground will save the club as much as UK£1.7 million per season in rental fees - money that will instead be invested in the club’s playing staff and academy, and into improvements at Elland Road.
A United statement said work to update the stadium has already begun and will be completed by the start of the new season.
Judith Blake, the leader of Leeds City Council, described the purchase as “an extremely positive step in the right direction for everyone associated with Leeds United”, adding: “As we prepare for the new season to begin in August, I very much welcome the intent being shown by Andrea to move the club forward with real purpose and ambition.”