TORQUAY UNITED BREAKING NEWS: The club has been sold to Gaming International
TORQUAY United has been sold to Gaming International, it was announced by the club on Friday afternoon.
It is understood that the deal will be ratified by the National League before Christmas.
The deal will be approved on Monday pending the approval of the Football Association.
It is understood that chairman David Phillips will remain in the post during the transition to new ownership.
Truro City chairman Peter Masters, who has long been linked with the change of ownership at Plainmoor, was at the club when the announcement was made. He is understood to be there in an advisory capacity.
A statement from Gaming International is expected soon.CHAIRMAN David Phillips will remain at Plainmoor following the sale of Torquay United Football Club to the Gaming International subsidiary company Riviera Stadium Limited – but only for a transitional period.
Phillips and Truro City chairman Peter Masters announced the sale of Torquay to GI this evening and revealed there will be a further press conference on Monday when more details of the deal will be released.
The current Torquay United board will step down – though Phillips will help smooth the transition and remain at the club for the time being, with Masters, acting in an advisory capacity, also saying there are unlikely to be any redundancies.
At a rushed press conference, held at Plainmoor late this afternoon, Phillips read out a statement confirming the sale.
It said: "The board OF TUFC are pleased to announce that they have today unanimously approved the sale of a controlling shareholding to Riviera Stadium Limited – RSL.
"It is expected that contractual terms will be finalised on Monday, December 19, subject only to formal approval to the takeover by The Football Association [and the] National League.
"The TUFC directors are hoping that the completion of the RSL deal will put an end to a protracted period of uncertainty, and offer the club the opportunity to develop and succeed – both on and off the pitch.
"RSL is a member of the Stadia UK division of Gaming International Limited, a UK-based leisure group."
Phillips added: "Peter Masters has a groundshare agreement that still exists and he has been an enormous help to us over the last 12 months.
"He has been through all this financial difficulty at Truro when he took over the club and he has got them into a good state.
"I can't thank him enough for everything he has done for us."
Phillips became the chairman of Torquay after a Dean Edwards and Stephen Breed led consortium took over in time for the start of last season.
Both Edwards and Breed have since left the club – and Phillips and general manager Rob Stanley have been working hard to find new investment and new owners.
But it has been tough and making ends meet has been a constant struggle for the board, especially with the manager Kevin Nicholson balancing a mid-table budget and the team dropping into the lower reaches of the National League.
Gaming International are owned by Clarke Osborne, who lives near Bristol. He has been in various forms of retail, residential and sporting property development for nearly 40 years.
GI almost bought the club earlier this year – back in May – but instead their interest waned. However, in three instalments, the company had loaned the board £120,000 – vital funds to keep the club going – and those payments were due to be repaid by January 31, 2017 or contractually ownership would have been transferred to GI.
Osborne and GI are yet to comment on the deal – but Masters wants Torquay fans to get behind the new owners and 'give them a chance'.
He said: "They have put £120,000 into this club, probably more than anybody else has, and that's a lot of money.
"They are willing to keep going forward – they are not just property developers and whatever else, they genuinely want to take the club forward.
"In the agreement, there are a number of conditions that they need to fulfil and are obliged to fulfil.
"It is positive news and GI has got to be now given a chance to take it forward."
Masters, owner and chairman at Truro, was ruled out of making a takeover bid when the Cornish club won promotion from the Southern League – but he did admit he had previously been interested in buying the club.
He said: "Going back probably 18 months before Truro got promoted to the National League South it was an option and I was very tempted.
"But my loyalties go with Truro City and it must remain that way until my job is fully completed down there.
"I got to know GI over a period of 12 months and I have managed to build up a good working relationship with both GI and Torquay United and we have been able to broker the deal when things got very difficult.
"I am very proud of what I have done actually.
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