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Price has got to be right for a U's deal
Buy this photo » City council leader bob Price at the Kassam Stadium
OXFORD United chairman Ian Lenagan has urged Firoz Kassam to sell his stadium now.
Mr Lenagan spoke out after rugby team London Welsh – which shares use of the stadium with United – revealed they would like to buy the stadium.
London Welsh’s vice chairman John Taylor said the club had taken part in conversations with Mr Kassam about a sale.
But after the plans were labelled “horrific” by Oxford United supporters, London Welsh said talk of a sale was premature and no formal negotiations had taken place.
Mr Lenagan said: “I would support any one of the three different possibilities, which include Oxford United or London Welsh buying the stadium, and a joint bid.
n continued from page 1 “Sports clubs have similar views and a common approach. Obviously I would prefer us to own it but I find all three other options better than the present situation.
“The purchase of the Kassam Stadium has been in discussion on and off for five years but we will not buy the stadium unless the price is acceptable and the terms are acceptable.
“We have never got to that position.
“I am delighted to see London Welsh establishing themselves. They certainly have some very good benefactors.”
Mr Kassam initially said the stadium was “not for sale” before adding the situation would be different if Oxford United wanted to buy it.
Mr Kassam said: “The stadium is not for sale and that has been the situation for a few years.
“I am the custodian of the stadium on behalf of the football club first and foremost.
“If the football club were to express an interest in buying the stadium it would be a different situation but I am not going to speculate on this issue.”
He declined to comment any further.
Mr Kassam owned Oxford United until 2006 and built the stadium in 2001 to replace the Manor Ground in Headington.
London Welsh moved to the stadium from Richmond in South West London last year when they were promoted to the Premiership.
John Taylor, who was managing director of London Welsh until the start of this week, said: “It is a bit premature to say we are having discussions about buying the stadium.
“We have looked into buying the stadium and we are open to all possibilities and we have had general discussions with Oxford United.”
When earlier asked about a possible buy-out, he said: “We are certainly exploring the possibility.
“Conversations have been had with Mr Kassam and we are also looking at ways we can raise the money to do it.”
The last known value placed on the stadium by Mr Kassam was £13m.
THE KEY PLAYERS: OXFORD UNITED
Ian Lenagan (executive chairman of Oxford United)
A successful businessman, Mr Lenagan spent more than 25 years building up his software firm Workplace Systems in Milton Keynes before selling it in 2011 to its management which netted him £19m.
Long-time Woodstock resident Mr Lenagan set up Woodstock Partners with Nick Merry in 2006 to take over Oxford United and took over as executive chairman last year following the departure of Kelvin Thomas.
A huge rugby fan, Mr Lenagan owns Wigan Warriors which he bought from Wigan Athletic FC chairman Dave Whelan and is also a successful theatre producer.
John Taylor (vice chairman of London Welsh)
The 67-year-old has London Welsh running through his veins after distinguishing himself as a flanker with the club and going on to represent Wales 26 times between 1967 and 1973.
In 1991 he became a rugby commentator for ITV and is now the lead rugby
Firoz Kassam: (Hotel and property developer and former Oxford United owner)
Born in Tanzania, Firoz Kassam, 57, built his fortune developing hotels.
In 1999, Kassam bought Oxford United for £1, taking over its debts, estimated to be in the region of £18m, a half-built stadium and a struggling team.
By 2001 he had built the stadium and continued to develop the Ozone leisure park around it. But he was unpopular with fans and stood down in 2006, critically retaining ownership of the stadium.
Now Mr Kassam, who also owns Heythrop Park in northern Oxfordshire, is estimated to have a fortune of £217m according to the 2012 Sunday Times Rich List.