Gateshead FC Chairman says no movement on stadium dispute and situation is 'at an impasse'

Neil Pinkerton, the Chairman of Gateshead FC at the International Stadium.
Neil Pinkerton, the Chairman of Gateshead FC at the International Stadium. -Credit:Chronicle Live

The Chairman of Gateshead FC has said there has been no movement in the stadium dispute and that 'the situation is at an impasse'.

This comes after the club were denied the chance to compete in the National League play-offs, after a dispute over the lease on the Gateshead International Stadium.

After they had secured their place in the top seven of the National League, a statement released by the National League on Sunday April 21 confirmed that a leasing issue over the International Stadium had brought a halt to the Heed’s plans for the play-offs. EFL regulations require member clubs to have a ten-year security of tender in place on their home stadium.

Gateshead Council have offered assurances that the club would be granted the 10-year-lease if promoted, but uncertainty over the venue's future has been deemed too great by football authorities, with the council in the process of seeking a new operator to take over the stadium in an effort to cut costs.

This came as a devastating blow for Gateshead, which has an FA Trophy final against Solihull Moors to prepare for in under two weeks' time.

A statement from the club after hearing this ruling read: "Gateshead Football Club are extremely disappointed to find ourselves in the position as outlined in statements by the EFL and the National League. Rest assured, we will continue to challenge both on their decisions, and we will endeavour to ensure that footballing matters are decided on the pitch.

"There, our players and staff remain 100% focused on the task in hand, and we wish to go on record to express our gratitude to the National League for supporting our challenge to the EFL. Due to the legality of this matter, no further comments will be made by Gateshead FC until appropriate."

Neil Pinkerton, the Chairman of Gateshead FC at the International Stadium.
Neil Pinkerton, the Chairman of Gateshead FC at the International Stadium. -Credit:Chronicle Live

Now, Neil Pinkerton, the Chairman of the club, has offered an update, saying: "The situation is at an impasse, but we have not exhausted all avenues and we want to make sure that we do so. It has been great to see the support from fans and we have been quite overwhelmed by the attention we have received both nationally and worldwide.

"I think that the situation can definitely be translated into a positive as we look ahead to Wembley, which is something that we have been talking about internally. Of course we won't let the situation settle and want to do all that we can, but it is important that we don't look at the FA Trophy as a consolation prize and ultimately we want to settle it on the pitch."

Michael Lamb, Gateshead Council Service Director, said: "Unfortunately, this does not seem to be enough for the English Football League. Whilst the announcement by the league is extremely regrettable and we understand the club's disappointment, our priority is to ensure that we can provide sustainable and accessible leisure services for all our communities.

"We remain committed to working with all interested parties to achieve a positive resolution and will continue to advocate for the success of Gateshead Football Club."