OXFORD United have warned they may look to play home matches elsewhere after voicing their 'dismay' at the slow progress of talks over the ownership of the Kassam Stadium.

And in a strongly-worded statement, the U’s board of directors say they may also have to lower their ambitions, ‘narrow horizons’ and undertake a ‘serious review of the playing budget and support of the academy’.

The Oxford Mail revealed in October that supporters’ group OxVox and stadium owner Firoz Kassam had held talks about selling the ground and making it a community-owned facility.

OxVox said those discussions had been ‘highly-constructive and positive’ and on Saturday released a statement in which they outlined the aim to have ‘heads of terms’ agreed by the end of the season.

United chairman Darryl Eales had already gone on record as saying he was frustrated with the lack of progress.

But news that it may take until the summer to sign an agreement has prompted an immediate response.

“The board of directors of Oxford United is dismayed about the slow progress regarding negotiations between the representatives of OxVox and Firoka over the ownership of the Kassam Stadium,” the statement said.

“While we continue to support the efforts being made to find a solution, we call on OxVox, Firoz Kassam and the city council to accelerate the process for the good of the club, the fans, and to safeguard the future of OUFC.

“We do not understand why, as stated by OxVox, it will take until the end of the season to reach heads of terms over the sale of the ground.

“While we understand that certain issues cannot be resolved until later, there is no reason why an outline of the deal cannot be signed in weeks, even days, and not months as suggested.”

The statement went on to question why talks are progressing without any involvement from United.

Successful negotiations with Kassam would see the club’s long-term future remain at its current location, but county council leader Ian Hudspeth said last week the possibility of building a new stadium on land at Water Eaton should be investigated.

The club, though, are calling for a clear directive as to where their future lies.

“While we are supportive of the three-party discussions, we find it strange that we are not included in them,” the United board said.

“As the tenant, we are clearly a very interested party, and without any direct involvement, we continue to be left in the dark as to how the final deal may impact the club and indeed when such a deal is likely to be finalised.

“We remain happy to join the negotiations at any stage.

“Our chairman has stated on many occasions that his ambition is to build long-term, sustainable success for the club, and this is extremely difficult under the current circumstances.

“As we begin the budget process for next season, we will be forced to adopt a worst-case scenario, where we continue to have no benefit from revenues generated at the ground on match days, and we continue to pay an occupancy cost to Firoka that we feel is out of step with the service we receive.

“The ongoing stadium uncertainty will result in us having to retrench our ambitions, narrow our horizons and even look at playing elsewhere until we find a new, permanent home.

“This will also mean a serious review of the playing budget and of our support of the academy.”

Eales made public last week he had invested more than £8million in the club, since taking over in the summer of 2014.

And the board have called on United supporters to back their call for answers.

“We know that all loyal fans of OUFC are eager to see more investment in the club to continue the progress that has been achieved over the past two-and-a-half years,” they say.

“We are, too, and the chairman has shown by his funding of the club how determined he is.

“As directors of the club, however, it is our fiduciary duty to advise the owner/chairman, and the outcome of negotiations over the ground is key to our ability to plan ahead and for more investment.

“We are grateful to OxVox and the council for their efforts to try and resolve this situation for the good of the club.

“However, we call on them and Firoz Kassam to explain why heads of terms cannot be expedited so that we can eliminate the uncertainty that exists.

“As a board, we stand as one on this issue. We also call upon all supporters of the club to back the board¹s stance.

“We are all interested in a brighter, more prosperous and settled future for OUFC.”