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Elected members on Stoke-on-Trent City Council have been left embarrassed by the failure of senior officers to monitor how £500,000 of public money was spent by Stoke City FC.
It was revealed at a meeting of the Transformation and Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee yesterday [Thursday] that former Council Manager Steve Robinson had agreed a deal that gave the Premiership Football club the opportunity to pay the City Council for their 36% share in the Britannia Stadium.
The deal also called for the club to pay the council £4.5 million in three annual instalments, and agreed to spend the remaining £500,000 on community sports initiatives.
Committee Chair Cllr Roger Ibbs told the meeting that officers had bent over backwards for the Football club and as a result had embarrassed the council. He reminded the officers that it is the elected members that are left ‘carrying the can’.
It was also revealed that money that had been raised from various charity events, along with donations made by the club to an assortment of charities, had been deducted from the £500,000 that should have been spent on community sporting initiatives.
The club should have supplied reports on how the money was being spent but had failed to do so. The Council had also failed to monitor how the funds were being used.
The committee will now recommend that the cabinet reject the draft community plan. They are also calling for a working group to be set up to come up with an agreement to allocate the funding in the future.