Halifax RLFC are to take Calderdale Council to arbitration over their rent at the Shay. The club’s board has instructed solicitors Chadwick Lawrence LLP to apply to the Law Society for an arbitrator to resolve a long standing dispute between the club and their landlords.
The disputes, most of which have been outstanding for more than a year, relate to Fax’s use of the pitch and other facilities at the Shay, which the rugby league club shares with FC Halifax Town.
“The situation we face is wholly untenable. Although we have a legally binding agreement, there are those within the council who seem to believe they can pick and choose which terms they are prepared to apply and which terms they can ignore.”Halifax RLFC chairman Michael Steele
The stadium is owned, managed and maintained by the council.
Matters came to a head in February this year when the rugby club says the head of the council department with ultimate responsibility for the management of the Shay refused to negotiation over alleged outstanding rent, which was disputed by the club.
Halifax RLFC claim the council has so far refused or ignored requests to go to arbitration.
Club chairman Michael Steele said: “The situation we face is wholly untenable. Although we have a legally binding agreement, there are those within the council who seem to believe they can pick and choose which terms they are prepared to apply and which terms they can ignore.”
Fax claim council breaches of contract and mismanagement of the Shay facilities have cost the club many thousands in lost revenue. They said they have repeatedly been threatened with a Shay lock out for not paying what the council said is owed.
Director, Ian Croad said: “The Council cannot continue to deny us the revenue lost by its breaches of contract while forcing us, under repeated threat of lock-out from the Shay, to pay what they say we owe when they say we must pay it, without giving us a forum to air our legitimate grievances.”
A Calderdale Council spokeswoman said: “On May 26, 2016, we contacted Halifax RLFC to arrange for senior council officers to meet the club directors to discuss the situation.
“The club has not yet responded to our request.
“We have not threatened to ‘lock out’ the club from the stadium, and we would still like to meet the club directors to work together to find a suitable solution.”
An application to appoint an arbiter was filed on July 7.
Mr Steele added that things should never have been allowed to get to this stage.
“This is a local issue, which we would much prefer to have resolved, locally.
“Unfortunately the councillors we have approached and the senior officers who advise them have clearly illustrated by their actions (and inactions), that they have no interest in treating the club fairly.
“Having been forced into this position we will now accept whatever decision is made by the arbitrator as being conclusive and binding and trust the Council will, belatedly, honour its contractual obligation to do the same”.