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Bristol Rovers in High Court battle with Sainsbury's over sale of Memorial Stadium

Bristol Rovers is involved in a High Court dispute with Sainsbury's Credit: ITV News

A High Court judge has heard opening arguments in a week-long legal battle over the future of Bristol's Memorial Stadium site.

The hearing is to settle an ongoing dispute between Bristol Rovers and Sainsbury's over a land deal involving the club's current home in Horfield.

Mrs Justice Proudman, sitting in London, was told the football club agreed a deal with the supermarket chain in 2011, as part of its plans to move to a new ground on the Frenchay campus of the University of the West of England (UWE).

The terms of the deal were that Sainsbury's would buy the Memorial Stadium for £30 million and lease it back to the club for a peppercorn rent until its move to the new ground was completed - at which time a new supermarket would be built on the site.

The club would use the money to finance the building of the new 21,700-seat stadium.

At the time the deal was made, the court heard, there was no planning permission or infrastructure in place, the costs were uncertain and Bristol Rovers were still negotiating with UWE.

Lawyers for both sides today outlined their cases to the judge, as a six-day hearing got underway.

Mark Wonnacott QC, for Sainsbury's, said the supermarket giants believes it 'lawfully terminated' the contract when various conditions were not met.

But the club's barrister, David Matthias QC, argued that the contract is either still running, or has been terminated in breach of its terms.

The hearing continues.

Decision delayed on Bristol Rovers stadium deal

Bristol Rovers High Court battle with Sainsbury's over the sale of the Memorial Stadium has been delayed.

It was due to start today but won't go before judges until a later date.

The football club needs the £30 million deal to go through so it can move to a new home on land at the University of the West of England.

Last week the supermarket giant announced its first annual loss in over a decade.


Swindon's Ricketts: I didn't even know score

Swindon Town's Sam Ricketts says he didn't even know the final score of their semi-final match against Sheffield United until he came off the pitch.

They faught out a ten goal thriller against United in the second leg of the semi-final. It finished 5-all on the night and 7-6 on aggregate, making it the highest scoring play-off match ever.

Meanwhile, manager Mark Cooper said a play-off final win would be a "ridiculous achievement."

Glenn Hoddle congratulates Swindon on win

Former England manager and Swindon player Glenn Hoddle congratulated his old club last night following their success against Sheffield United.

Swindon drew 5-5 giving them a 7-6 victory on aggregate. The result sees them through to the play-off final.


Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold to marry

Lizzy met James while he was the sled designer for Team GB at the Winter Olympics Credit:

Bath's Lizzy Yarnold has announced she is getting married.

The Olympic champion is to wed James Roche. The two were brought together by the the skeleton while James was the sled designer for the British Team at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

James surprised Lizzy by popping the question during a walk in the countryside, then they celebrated with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

Bristol Rugby through to play-off final

Bristol have made it through to the Championship play-off final after a hard-fought win at Rotherham this afternoon.

Second half tries from Marco Mama and Jack Tovey, together with 14 points from the boot of Gavin Henson secured a 24-16 win on the day, and 56-36 on aggregate.

Andy Robinson's men will now play Worcester over two legs, with the winners securing promotion to the Premiership.

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