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Glazers back down on Old Trafford status

ESPN staff
September 24, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
The much-maligned Glazer family will now find it difficult to sell Old Trafford © PA Photos
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Manchester United fans are celebrating after the club's American owners, the Glazer family, dropped their opposition to the listing of Old Trafford as an "asset of community value".

Two months ago, Trafford Council, supported by the British government, granted a request from the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) to have the Premier League champions' home legally registered as a community asset.

That status means it would be harder for the owners to sell it and, if they were to put it on the market, fans would be informed and given the chance to raise funds to bid for it.

United opposed the move for the ground to be registered, but MUST said the club's lawyers had now withdrawn their request for the council to review the decision.

Duncan Drasdo, the trust's chief executive, said: "We're delighted that the owners have taken the decision to back down over their opposition to the listing of Old Trafford as an asset of community value. We were always very confident of our case.

"We hope this will offer further encouragement to supporters' trusts at other clubs and indeed provide extra impetus to the government to push forward boldly with meaningful reform of football to encourage greater participation by supporters in ownership of their clubs."

The move to list Old Trafford as a community asset was backed by the communities secretary, Eric Pickles.

In July, Pickles said: "I am delighted by the decision of Trafford Borough Council to list the home of Manchester United Football Club as an Asset of Community Value.

"The Community Right to Bid, brought in by this government, gives communities the opportunity to retain land and buildings for use and ownership by local people who value them most.

"Many of our great cities - including Manchester - are recognised around the world because of the sporting institutions which represent them.

"The new community rights we have introduced have ensured that even a global iconic institution like Manchester United will remain rooted in the community in which it was founded thanks to the actions of the Manchester United Supporters Trust.

"I look forward to other communities following this wonderful example."

MUST's move to register Old Trafford as a community asset followed the 2011 Localism Act.

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