Sale Sharks target AJ Bell Stadium ownership deal

English Premiership rugby union club Sale Sharks has launched a bid to purchase ownership rights to its AJ Bell Stadium, but also said it will pursue plans to build its own ground if it is unsuccessful.

The team has played at the AJ Bell Stadium since 2012 and shares the venue with Super League rugby league outfit Salford Red Devils.

Sharks owner Simon Orange confirmed the news and, according to the BBC, has said that the club’s offer is in excess of what the stadium is actually worth.

“We’ve made an offer, but it’s still early stages,” Orange said. “I can’t go into detail but the offer we’ve made we think is above what it’s worth.

“We are in negotiations at the minute and, if we cannot buy this stadium, then we are going to have to build our own.”

City of Salford Community Stadium Ltd is the current owner of the venue, which opened with the help of an initial £22m (€23.7m/$28.5m) loan from Salford City Council.

The company was later granted a further loan of £632,000 as the council said the firm would default on its existing loan.

Orange said that if the Sharks were to be successful in its bid too purchase the stadium, then Super League outfit Salford would remain a tenant and continue to play its home matches at the venue.

Image: Anthony Parkes