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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 20:18 GMT
Scally reveals Gills stadium plan
Gillingham FC chairman Paul Scally
The Gills currently occupy 16th place in the League One table
Gillingham FC's chairman has proposed selling the Priestfield Stadium to a company of which he would be sole owner - and then leasing it back to the club.

Paul Scally said the plan would see just under 74% of the football club's 13.3m debt transferred to Priestfield Developments Ltd.

It would create a more "manageable overdraft" which could in turn benefit performances on the pitch, he said.

Shareholders will consider the proposal at an Extraordinary General Meeting.

Mr Scally outlined his plans in a letter posted on Gillingham FC's website on Thursday.

He said the stadium sale was aimed at ensuring "the interests of the club are always maintained, as has been my sole objective over the past 13 years as your chairman".

Priestfield Developments Ltd would buy the ground from Gillingham Football Club plc for about 9.8m.

Rent-free period

That would reduce the club's running debt to no more than 3.5m, with interest payments also falling from 800,000 a year to 200,000.

The lease of the stadium back to the Gills would initially be for 10 years.

Mr Scally said: "There'll be a rent-free period of three years... although maintenance and running costs of the stadium will still be met by the club.

"After that time the club will pay a rent based on which division it's in at that time."

Mr Scally said his position in charge of both Gillingham FC and Priestfield Developments Ltd would ensure the ground was not sold until the time was right.

It is ultimately hoped that by reducing the Gills' debts, progress can be made towards planning and building a new stadium.

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