Derry City and Derry & Strabane District Council may be forced to turn to an independent arbiter in order to resolve a dispute over rent at the refurbished Brandywell Stadium.
The Brandywell club have, as yet, not paid any matchday rent for the facility while negotiations have been ongoing.
City Chairman Philip O’Doherty said the club has been trying, for more than a year, to get a compromised figure from the council because he believes the current quotation per match was excessive.
The cost to hire the Lone Moor Road venue on a match night is not the only expense the ‘Candy Stripes’ have incurred, as the club pays an additional £10,000 per annum for use of the stadium when training throughout the season.
Indeed, the club also claimed that clubs in other council areas pay significantly lower fees to use council owned stadia on a match day.
Mr. O’Doherty is standing firm, claiming that Derry City is being charged too much.
We asked for the price to be agreed over a year ago now and we are still in discussions and it may well now have to go to an arbitrator now.Philip O’Doherty
“We are happy with the facilitates, but we are still in discussions with council about what it should cost,” insisted the Derry chairman.
“That’s something which has to be reflected on the ticket pricing because, at the minute, it’s much more expensive in terms of rent than what it was previously and that filters through to ticket prices.
“That’s not something we are imposing on our fans, it has be imposed on us. We asked for the price to be agreed over a year ago; we are still in discussions but it may well have to go to an independent arbitrator.
“It’s a legal process which is a sad situation.
“Derry and Strabane Council is basically taking us down the legal road to get the rent agreed.
“The Brandywell is a great facility, but attendances will go up and down depending on results on the pitch, we know that,” added Mr. O’Doherty.
A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said: “That council was currently involved in ongoing discussions with Derry City FC on all aspects of operational issues relating to the Brandywell Stadium.”