Scottish Premiership football club Inverness Caledonian Thistle has taken back ownership on the lease of its home stadium and North and South stands.
Property developer Tulloch Homes built the Caledonian Stadium in 1995-96, and took control of the lease in 2001 after agreeing to get the club out of a £2.4m (€2.7m/$3.2m) debt.
In a show of generosity, the company has now handed control of the 7,500-capacity ground to the club. Prior to Tulloch taking ownership of the stadium in 2001, Highland Council had granted a 99-year lease to Caley Thistle in 1995.
Chairman Graham Rae described the confirmation of the gift from Tulloch as a significant milestone for the club, giving supporters a much-needed assurance over the future of the stadium, and the directors of the club the confidence and authority to seek new investment.
However, the deal does not include the adjacent car parks, though Tulloch has agreed to allow Caledonian Thistle to continue using them for the foreseeable future.
“This is a major milestone and facilitates our future operational integrity, underpins new investment and secures the club in a full say in any potential development. For the record, and on behalf of my fellow directors, I would like to thank George Fraser, chief executive of Tulloch, and the Tulloch Board of Directors for their support and commitment to ICTFC,” Rae said.
“This helps the club to go forward by securing a substantial part of the land lease and adding considerable value to our balance sheet. It also represents the end of an era of rental debt and provides an opportunity to begin again.
“This change augers well for the future financial success of our business, and the Board of ICTFC ask that all shareholders recognise this significant development.
“Major objections without viable alternatives are not in the club’s interest. ICTFC would love to have a direct lease for the adjacent land, but it’s not currently a realistic outcome, as the club has not had the lease for the land since 2001.”