GROVEMOOR Limited will not be taking up its call-option for the takeover of Cork City Football Club at the present time.
Earlier this year, when City’s prospects of being awarded a licence to compete in the SSE Airtricity League were in danger, Preston North End – owned by Grovemoor, which is controlled by Trevor Hemmings – provided a financial boost by purchasing sell-on clauses that City held relating to Alan Browne and Seán Maguire, and from those discussions, the possibility of selling the club arose.
While the process was slowed by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, in October members of Foras, the supporters’ trust which has run City since the beginning of 2010, voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing Grovemoor to exercise a call-option to purchase the club.
Relations between Grovemoor and the club are positive though and the situation may be revisited again next year.
"Foras had submitted an application for a First-Division licence as a fail-safe and a Foras-run operation would be geared towards amateur players.
"If the club opt against playing at Turner’s Cross, Musgrave Park is an option for home games, though the club’s training ground at Bishopstown – used by the women’s and underage teams – could also potentially be used if games are played behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions.
"Grovemoor Ltd has informed the Board of Management that due to being unable to agree terms on a lease agreement with the Munster Football Association, Grovemoor Ltd will not be proceeding with their option to purchase Cork City Football Club at this time.
"Friends of the Rebel Army Society Ltd will now be proceeding with our own plans for 2021 and implementing a budget which will give us a stable and sustainable team for the 2021 football season. We can confirm that Foras has lodged a license application in accordance with the deadlines laid out by the Licensing Department and we remain in constant contact with the FAI with regards our the status of our application.
"We may seek to negotiate reduced rates with the MFA for Turner’s Cross in line with our budget, which if unsuccessful will result in us exploring alternative venues for playing behind-closed-doors for next season.
The Board will not be making further comment at this time but will send a full update to our members on our plans, for Tuesday, December 22."