Barnsley Council leader Steve Houghton is 'shocked' by Barnsley FC's majority owners' alleged plans to move away from Oakwell.

The Daily Mail reported last night that the majority owners of the club – a consortium led by Chien Lee and Paul Conway – are in negotiations with other EFL clubs over staging Barnsley games in the midst of a dispute between them and the Cryne family, the former owners who still have half of Oakwell stadium.

The Chronicle understands preliminary discussions have taken place with other clubs but it is unknown how advanced those plans are or if it is a scare tactic to put pressure on the Cryne family – who have launched a legal case against the club's majority owners for £2.75m in unpaid instalments from the 2017 sale of the club. The club have declined to comment. 

The Mail also claim that an attempt to buy half of the stadium was blocked by the council, which is denied by the council who say they have never been approached. 

Coun Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: "We're shocked and dismayed at the comments regarding the potential relocation of Barnsley Football Club.“Relationships between the council and Barnsley Football Club have always been excellent.

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"There are no disputes between the club and the council. The council has not declined to transfer the land as there have been no negations between the two parties on this matter.

"For the last 133 years, Barnsley Football Club has been a significant part of our borough, and we'll do all we can to make sure professional football is maintained in Barnsley.”

A statement from the Cryne family read: “The Cryne Family would like to clarify that contrary to recent speculation they are fully committed to the agreement to sell their 50% stake in Oakwell Stadium to BFC Investment Company, the Hong Kong consortium that owns Barnsley Football Club. 

“BFC Investment Company exercised an option in January 2020 to buy the Cryne family’s 50% share in the company which owns Oakwell Stadium. The other 50% is owned by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.  Since exercising the option, BFC Investment Company has raised a number of concerns in relation to that option. The Cryne Family has responded in full to these concerns, on which they have previously taken Counsel’s opinion from two leading QCs. 

“The Cryne Family remain committed supporters of the Club and its future at Oakwell Stadium, the Club’s home where it has played its football for the past 133 years, and want no more than to resolve this issue in line with the agreement made when BFC Investment Company bought the Club.”