THE leader of Oxford City Council says he is happy with how talks are progressing to make the Kassam Stadium a community-owned facility.

Bob Price has been involved in a number of meetings with landlord Firoz Kassam and Oxford United supporters’ trust OxVox about the potential sale of the Grenoble Road ground.

Mr Price says the ‘unique’ and ‘complex’ nature of the deal means there cannot be a quick resolution, but he is content with progress.

“Things are moving along satisfactorily,” he said.

“We are having to get a lot of legal advice on the framework of the deal.

“It’s quite unique and there are quite significant issues in terms of liabilities of the trustees should they take over the ownership both short-term and long-term, as well as the relationship with the club.

“The heads of terms we need to be drawn up are quite complex which is why we need advice on it.”

Oxford United have not been involved in the discussions and the club’s board have expressed their frustration at the time predicted to agree the heads of terms.

But Mr Price says everyone involved in the deal has to make sure nothing is hurried through in order to get the right outcome.

“I don’t think these are the kind of things you can rush,” he said.

“The danger of doing things quickly is that you get something wrong or go off half-cocked.

“The key is doing it right and taking your time.”

Although the council would have a big part in any deal, Mr Price is under illusions as to the vital element in the talks.

“The key person here is Firoz Kassam himself,” he said.

“He would need to be satisfied with the structure and the way in which it is going to be transacted.

“We have got to close off all those issues before we go near the discussions otherwise it will just fall apart.”

He added: “There’s a lot we can bring to the table, but the stadium belongs to him so he is the only person who can decide that he wants to transfer its ownership to something else.

“He is the only person that matters really and we have to try and find a way which he is comfortable about that transfer.

“We are talking about a lot of money and it’s something that has a long-term impact on the city.

“I hope we can maintain our positive approach and that we can keep things moving along.”

Wealthy businessman Stewart Donald this week joined the committee of OxVox and will be involved in the next meeting of the parties.

Mr Price felt bringing the multi-millionaire and owner of National League side Eastleigh into discussions would help the process.

“I think the addition of Stewart Donald to the committee is very helpful,” he said.

“He has expertise in the field, experience and his potential advice on how we take things forward is extremely welcome.”