THE purchase of Huish Park and other land owned by Yeovil Town Football Club is to be considered by South Somerset District Council (SSDC) to help ease financial pressures on the club caused by Covid-19.

If agreed, the proposal, which will be on the District Executive agenda next week, would see SSDC purchase the main property and land assets of the club at Huish Park and lease it back to the club.

The intention is to help ease the club’s short-term financial concerns, a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the prevention of crowds from attending Yeovil's National League matches.

The proposal will also give the football club the option of buying back the land the club occupies in the future, once its financial outlook has improved.

SSDC would not own or become a shareholder of the football club, rather Yeovil Town would become a tenant of the council in a similar way to other companies which are commercial tenants of the council, such as B&Q, Marks & Spencer and Go Compare.

As SSDC is providing support to businesses with the aim of protecting the local economy and jobs, it was approached by Yeovil Town regarding the difficulties it is facing during the pandemic.

The council's commercial team investigated options which benefited both the club and South Somerset residents.

Yeovil Town is the only professional football club in Somerset and, as such, it makes a significant contribution to both the local economy and the wider community, notably through its charity, the Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust, which strives to make a positive difference for local people through sport and education.

It is projected that the investment would provide a net initial yield of around seven per cent, which is line with the approved target level of commercial returns on investment property assets purchased by the council.

SSDC said that the income generated from the investment would be reinvested in services and projects which benefit local communities.

The proposal will be considered by South Somerset’s District Executive committee on Thursday, December 3.

Yeovil Town director Glenn Collis said in a statement: "During the last nine months, since being forced to close the gates to Huish Park, we have gratefully welcomed the financial support offered to all clubs throughout the National League as well as the fantastic sums raised by our loyal fans through the crowdfunding activities, streaming services, sponsorship opportunities and initiatives such as ‘Face in the Crowd’.

"Unfortunately, the allotted amount provided to us and the fundraising efforts do not cover the financial requirements to enable our club to operate sustainably as per our forecasts for the 2020/21 season.

"We are currently exploring several options, one of which is the potential discussion with SSDC to establish a long-term plan to financially sustain the future of Yeovil Town Football Club.

"We also have other options that are being discussed, reviewed, and evaluated to ensure that whatever the final outcome, it is with the best interests of the club and its supporters, ensuring football continues to be played by YTFC at Huish Park.

"The SSDC opportunity, would come with a 12 month ‘Rent Break’, along with a ‘Buy Back’ option that can be activated by the club and allows us a 30-year lease ensuring that we have the appropriate time in place for recovery from the hardship that has been caused this year.

"This is an opportunity to reinvest into the club and push forward.

"The ‘Buy Back’ option will enable the ownership of the club to regain control of the stadium when the position to do so is available."

A statement from the Glovers Trust Board of Directors says: "We are all in favour of measures that will ensure the stability of YTFC and will allow for sustainable revenue streams to provide sufficient funds to allow our club not only to survive but positively thrive.

"At this early stage we believe that the proposed scheme has much to commend it and, should the proposals be carried out as presently stated, a brighter future could await Yeovil Town.

"A club unencumbered by both land charges and covenants would free up the possibilities for the type of development that would bring those all-important revenue streams on board.

"We shall be consulting with our members to gain their views on what could be one of the most important steps forward in the club’s 125-year history."