Barnsley FC sign 30-year lease to stay at Oakwell ground

Barnsley FC and Barnsley Council have struck a historic deal, designed to safeguard football for generations at Oakwell Stadium.

Barnsley Council and the League One club have agreed on a new lease of 30 years less one day, which should also see investment made into the ground.

This investment aims to create a platform for Barnsley FC to use Oakwell for events such as music concerts, corporate conferences and community activities on a regular basis.

The move also secures the future for the newly formed Barnsley FC women’s team who will continue to play games at Oakwell.

In 2023, the council became the sole owner of Oakwell Community Assets Limited (OCAL), which owns the stadium and land around it.

This followed negotiations with the Cryne family, who had been joint owners of OCAL with the council since 2003. OCAL will invest in the facilities using the income generated by the lease agreement.

Leader of Barnsley Council, Councillor Sir Steve Houghton, said: “Barnsley FC is part of our heritage, and one of our anchor institutions with significant economic, social and wellbeing value for the borough.

“It’s a badge of identity for our communities, contributing to pride of place and a sense of belonging for Barnsley people.

“The council became a 50% owner of OCAL, which owns the stadium and land around it, in 2003. This was part of a deal that saved Barnsley Football Club from going out of business at the time.

“We’re proud to have played a key role in securing the future of professional football in the borough and we’re now proud to be taking the next step in securing that future for many years to come.

“This agreement helps unlock much-needed investment at Oakwell, to improve community provision and improve the experience for visitors to the club.”

Jean Cryne, an owner and director of Barnsley FC and previous joint-owner of OCAL, said: “I’m pleased that the council have acquired my 50% share of the stadium.

“This is very positive for the club and the town and I hope fans can now feel safe in the knowledge that Oakwell is secure for the future of Barnsley Football Club.”

Neerav Parekh, chairman of Barnsley FC’s board, said: “This is another step forward for the club, with the future of Oakwell now resolved.

“This was a key task after the reconstitution of the board just over 18 months ago – to agree a new long-term lease. We want Barnsley Football Club to remain in Barnsley, and this agreement guarantees that.

“This will open up key investment opportunities as we look to modernise Oakwell and work together with all relevant parties to maximise our combined assets for the betterment of the club and town.”

Jon Flatman, acting chief executive of Barnsley FC, added: “The work now starts to maximise the investment and improve the facility and the opportunities this now creates.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to make sure Barnsley FC has the proper foundation to look ahead to what we believe are exciting times.”