The owner of Kassam Stadium says he is open to Oxford United staying at the ground, despite the club claiming it “must find a new home”.

Firoz Kassam has confirmed to the Oxford Mail he is happy for the Yellows to continue playing home games at the stadium in Littlemore.

It comes as the club looks to move away from the Kassam, with controversial plans to build a 16,000-capacity stadium in Kidlington.

Oxford Mail: Firoz Kassam owned Oxford United from 1999 to 2006Firoz Kassam owned Oxford United from 1999 to 2006

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Oxford United chief executive Tim Williams claims there is “no option to renew the lease” at the Kassam which expires in 2026.

He said the club “must find a new home”.

But the top bosses at Oxford United have now faced accusations that they never even asked to stay at the Kassam.

Oxford Mail: Kassam Stadium, Oxford United's current ground which was opened in 2001Kassam Stadium, Oxford United's current ground which was opened in 2001

Friends of Stratfield Brake, a campaign group against the new stadium, claims Kassam landlords Firoka, a company owned by Mr Kassam, were never approached by the club about renewing the lease.

Group member Suzanne McIvor said the club’s bosses had “not given the whole story” about the stadium saga.

When the Oxford Mail put these claims to Mr Kassam, who owned Oxford United from 1999 to 2006 and built the stadium in 2001, he said: “That is completely true.”

The revelation comes as Oxford United prepares a planning application for a new stadium at the Triangle, an area of land south of Kidlington Roundabout.

The club wants to submit the plan to Cherwell District Council, the planning authority, at the “earliest possible opportunity”.

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A club spokesman said: "The club has explored options at the current stadium.

“We have always been clear in our position and remain focused on securing a long-term and sustainable future for the club and look forward to submitting our full planning application."

Oxford Mail: A computer generated image of Oxford United's proposed stadium in KidlingtonA computer generated image of Oxford United's proposed stadium in Kidlington (Image: Oxford United)

But the stadium move has been criticised by Ian Middleton, who represents Kidlington East on the district council.

The Green councillor said: “There’s more to this claim from Oxford United that they can’t negotiate to stay at the Kassam than they are letting on”.

He accused the club of having “tunnel vision” on the Triangle site.

“No one wants to see the club homeless, but if they genuinely have no option to stay at the Kassam they shouldn’t be wasting what little time they say they have left by pursuing a pipe dream in Kidlington,” he added.

Oxford United's relationship with Firoka has historically been tricky.

In 2019, the company served the club with a winding-up petition for £204,000 in unpaid rent and service charges.

At the time, the club said it was “extremely disappointed” with Firoka’s actions.