Oxford United FC held a celebration event to mark their new residence at Oxford Sports Park, which will be a long-term training base for the club and community sports activities.
The event, held at Oxford Sports Park, marks the launch of the partnership between club and community and was attended by representatives from Oxford City Council, Oxford United FC, and community sporting groups.
Oxford Sports Park has been under development by Fusion Lifestyle since 2017. Part of the development has been to provide Oxford United with training facilities suitable for a professional club, and their tenancy has been a cornerstone of the development.
Discussions have been concluded between Oxford United FC and Fusion Lifestyle about the terms of United’s tenancy at the site, and the lease transfer has been agreed by both parties with the endorsement of Oxford City Council as the site’s owner.
The ground provides a sports site for the community, and includes cricket facilities and a community sports pavilion, 3G pitches will be available for hire. The agreement sees OUFC take over management and running of the whole site for the remainder of the 25 year lease.
As well as their current community engagement, the plan includes the following commitments:
- free nutrition classes, fitness classes for vulnerable groups and mental health workshops.
- literacy/numeracy classes with combined training sessions led by their players.
- football sessions for people experiencing homelessness
- all school football finals are held at the grounds every year, organised and run by OUFC as well as two football festivals and a kwik cricket festival
- access to the grounds for community use, with the exception of Sunday mornings when the Youth Academy runs. A requirement of the contract and funding that OUFC receives from the English Football League (EFL) is that there are no other users on site at the same time.
“It’s fantastic to be here today to celebrate the launch of this new partnership and welcome Oxford United to their new training base. The club have always been fundamental to Oxford Sports Park, and I’m delighted to see the offer they are making to the community, using their professional skills and expertise to support the community.
“They have outlined fantastic support for Oxford residents in their agreement, including using their support team to provide nutrition and mental health support for the community, working with schools on literacy and numeracy, and a great range of community sport activities for all ages.
“I look forward to seeing the club thrive with the stability this new contract offers, and to seeing how their work with the community grows over the years. This is the start of a long-term partnership at Oxford Sports Park between the club and community, and I’m sure the support will flow both ways, for club and city.”
Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Housing
“It is a massive day for Oxford United. Tonight we take on Manchester City in the quarter final of the Carabao Cup but just as importantly, today we celebrate having a training ground which will be the cornerstone of our club for many years to come.
“I want to thank the City Council for their help and also thank the many people who have worked so hard behind the scenes to make this day possible.
“We are so proud to be part of the community here in Oxford and happy to finally have a permanent training base not just for the First Team but for everyone.”
Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth, Chairman, Oxford United FC