Leeds United: Championship club buy back Elland Road home

Leeds United
Leeds United have played at Elland Road since the club was formed in 1919

Leeds United have bought back their Elland Road home, 13 years after being forced to sell it to reduce debts.

The Championship club sold the ground on a lease back deal in November 2004 after relegation from the top flight.

Owner Andrea Radrizzani said: "Today is an important day in our history and a proud day for me and my team.

"When I met with management and supporters during my first few months here the purchase of Elland Road was very high on their list of priorities."

The club added in a statement that the deal would allow them to "significantly reduce their expenditure" and re-direct money to the academy, senior squad and improvements to the stadium.

Previous owner Massimo Cellino said in 2014 that he wanted to "buy back our house" but he did not manage to do so before selling his remaining 50% stake to fellow Italian Radrizzani in May.

Managing director Angus Kinnear, who could not confirm the financial details of the deal, told BBC Radio Leeds: "I'm very excited. This is a fantastic day.

"I've been in the city for a couple of weeks but already it has been impressed on me by the people of Leeds how important it was to own our home.

"Andrea has only had full ownership for a few weeks and he has delivered on his promise. The transaction has not been easy but we are all delighted and there is a fantastic feeling around Elland Road.

He added: "There is a fantastic opportunity for development and you can't do that if you don't own the ground. We want to look at how we can enhance supporters' experience on a matchday."

'Elland Road is an iconic stadium'

Analysis - BBC Radio Leeds sport reporter Katherine Hannah

This is huge news for Leeds United fans.

Many previous owners have talked about buying back Elland Road and making it their priority. But up until now - for various reasons - it's never happened. For chairman Andrea Radrizzani to state his intention of buying back Elland Road and actually deliver it so soon into his ownership, will be an incredibly popular move.

It's a matter of pride for fans of Leeds United for the club to regain control of the stadium. They don't want to see huge sums being paid out to rent their own ground when that money could be invested elsewhere.

Elland Road is an iconic stadium, and for Leeds United to be able to say "this is ours" again means a great deal.

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