Torquay United takeover in the balance over stadium concerns

Torquay United were relegated from the Football League in May 2014

Torquay United chairman David Phillips says a planned takeover could collapse if the new owners cannot buy the club's Plainmoor ground.

The freehold is currently owned by Torbay Council, but prospective buyers Gaming International Limited want to sell the ground and build a new stadium on a different site.

Torquay entered an agreement with the Swindon-based firm in March.

"There's a pretty good chance of it falling down," Phillips told BBC Sport.

If they cannot complete a deal by 31 July, Torquay will look for new investors as there will be no extension to Gaming International's period of exclusivity.

"They've been talking to us long enough, we've had very constructive talks through that period and they're not against other people coming to talk to us as well," added Phillips.

"You never know, there may be some sort of consortium involving Gaming International, you never know."

David Phillips
David Phillips became Torquay United chairman in June 2015

In February, the Gulls first mooted the idea of leaving their home of 105 years and moving to a new purpose-built ground with a synthetic surface on the outskirts of the town.

Under the deal, the developers would pay for the stadium in exchange for council land to build housing on.

"We are fully aware that delay and uncertainty is potentially damaging to the football club," Phillips said in a statement.

"We are therefore urging the Mayor and Torbay Council to confirm their intentions in relation to the football ground as a matter of urgency to enable us to move forward."

He continued: "The new stadium will be designed to satisfy the needs of Torquay United and the local community.

"The board are working hard with Gaming International (as one of the possible purchasers of the club) and the council, to secure the necessary assurances that will allow Gaming International to proceed."

Torquay experienced a season of financial instability in 2015-16after millionaire owner Thea Bristow left the club last summer, leading to a takeover by a consortium of local businesspeople headed by Phillips.

On the field, the club were bottom of the National League table in February and 10 points adrift of safety, but a run of form under new manager Kevin Nicholson saw Torquay beat the drop.

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