Consortium facing a race against time
PLYMOUTH Devils' future under a new consortium may be at risk unless a deal over the speedway club's lease can be hammered out quickly.
The consortium are negotiating a new lease for their Marsh Mills circuit with the governors of St Boniface College.
The Premier League club's new set-up would include former Devils' captain Seemond Stephens, who is at present joint team manager.
Consortium members insist the money is available to complete the takeover deal.
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But the ultimate hold-up is negotiating the lease for the club's base, which has been at Marsh Mills for six years.
The potential new owners say a deal has to be finalised before next month, in time for the British Speedway Promoters' Association's (BSPA) annual meeting.
Devils, according to UK speedway rules, have to declare at the meeting they will be running a team next season.
Failure to do so would put their future in jeopardy.
One of the consortium, lifelong speedway enthusiast Godfrey Spargo, said attempts to set up a meeting with the college governors had so far proved unsuccessful.
He said: "The lease still hasn't been sorted out yet, which is obviously our main concern at the moment.
"If we don't get the lease, we're going to find it difficult to find another site for a track before the annual meeting is held.
"There has been some talk in the past about moving the whole thing to a site in Ernesettle, but as far as I'm aware, nothing more has come of that.
"It is also true to say that we have no alternative venue in mind at the moment."
Spargo, former Trelawny Tigers promoter, said there was a possibility the BSPA would give them more time to negotiate the lease should that become necessary.
Precedents have been set in previous cases – Leicester, despite not having a completed circuit, were allowed into the Premier League two years ago.
"It depends what happens with the BSPA," said Spargo.
"The scenario, though, that we don't want to see is that if speedway doesn't run at the St Boniface Arena next year, then it won't run at all.
"Obviously, we want to get this situation sorted out as soon as we possibly can."
The consortium made public their interest in buying the Devils off chairman and promoter Mike Bowden less than a month ago.
Devils finished bottom of the Premier League, narrowly losing their last home match at St Boniface by two points to high-flying Newcastle.