Devon

'Buy-back' stadium plan for Plymouth Argyle defeated

Plymouth City Council has vetoed calls for it to buy Home Park and lease the ground back to Plymouth Argyle.

The League One club is heavily in debt and has been given until 9 February to get its finances on a firmer footing.

Labour councillors on the Tory-run authority who proposed buying the ground put forward the motion at a full council meeting but it was defeated.

Plymouth Argyle confirmed on Friday that its players had not been paid on time for a third consecutive month.

'Frustrating time'

In 2006 the then Labour-run authority sold the leasehold for Home Park to the club for £2.7m.

But leader of the council Vivian Pengelly told members on Monday that buying back the ground at current market prices was "not a possibility" and the club's shareholders had to find a solution to its debts.

Labour councillor Tudor Evans said "the public will not forgive the council if it does nothing".

Former Leeds United and Cardiff City chairman Peter Ridsdale has been in talks with the Plymouth Argyle board about investing in the club which was founded in 1886.

But club captain Carl Fletcher said the uncertainty over its financial future was "a frustrating time" for players and staff.

The club managed to clear the tax bill that led to a winding up petition by HM Revenue and Customs but its representatives must reappear at the High Court on 9 February.

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